A midwife advises a mother on breastfeeding positions. — Photo courtesy of Hùng Vương Hospital
HCM CITY — Hùng Vương Hospital has been recognised as a Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding by the Ministry of Health and Alive & Thrive on Wednesday.
Hùng Vương also is the first medical facility in HCM City that received the previous award, a recognition for its intensive efforts to implement early essential newborn care and support breastfeeding.
More than 90 per cent of mothers who gave birth at Hùng Vương Hospital in the first nine months of 2019 lauded the breastfeeding counseling and support they received from medical staff. And more than 70 per cent of mothers breastfed their babies exclusively (without resorting to water or formula milk) during their hospital stay.
“Those figures speak for themselves. They are concrete evidence of Hùng Vương Hospital’s tremendous effort over the nine months it has participated in the “Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding” initiative from the Ministry of Health, with support from Alive & Thrive and Irish Aid," said Roger Mathisen, Regional Director of Alive & Thrive Southeast Asia.
"The hospital has invested in its human resources, forming a team of 18 staff specialising in supporting breastfeeding to ensure that every mother feels confident in breastfeeding her children,” Mathisen added.
Hùng Vương Hospital has photos, posters and breastfeeding tutorial videos in strategic locations right as mothers walk into the facility. Each mother receives a checklist to record each completed breastfeeding counseling step: antenatal visits during the last three months of pregnancy, breastfeeding initiation within 90 minutes after birth, and breastfeeding babies during postpartum care. This checklist helps mothers and doctors communicate and stay on track, while ensuring mothers receive the breastfeeding counseling and support they need.
“Breastfeeding counseling is not easy, especially when misleading information about the benefits of breast milk substitutes like formula milk is all over the media. To address such challenges here at Hùng Vương Hospital, we don’t provide one-sided information or try to impose our will, but rather we inquire about their awareness, experiences and the current circumstance of each mother, and based on that, we determine the appropriate approach and guidance,” said Dr. Phan Thị Hằng, deputy director of Hùng Vương Hospital.
In Hùng Vương Hospital, 80 per cent of newborns have skin-to-skin contact for 90 consecutive minutes after birth, and 83 per cent of baby’s breastfeed for the first time during this skin-to-skin contact with their mothers.
“I didn’t know that early initiation of breastfeeding is one of the nine instinctive steps increasing the possibility of exclusive breastfeeding to 50 per cent until my prenatal visit during a counseling session with my doctor. It was pure bliss feeling my newborn child on my chest, crawling to my breast for her first feeding. Though this was my second time giving birth, such a breastfeeding experience is new to me,” said Phạm Hoài Thu, a mother who delivered at the Hùng Vương Hospital.
In Việt Nam, 95 per cent of mothers give birth in health facilities, presenting a golden opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding among mothers like Thu.
“Not only is breastfeeding the mission of mothers, but it also demands a share of responsibility and support from families, community and especially health facilities. Counseling on and supporting breastfeeding are essential components of maternal and newborn care for all hospitals with obstetric services across the country,” Nguyễn Đức Vinh, director general of the Department of Maternal and Child Health said.
Hùng Vương Hospital is among the first five hospitals in Việt Nam to be designated as a Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding counseling is not the only fundamental component for successful exclusive breastfeeding – early essential newborn care is also a crucial element. According to the World Health Organisation, babies that receive prolonged, uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact are three times more likely to breastfeed during the first 90 minutes after birth. — VNS