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Quảng Nam Province praised for improved breastfeeding statistics

Update: April, 14/2021 - 11:26
A mother and newborn in skin-to-skin contact at the Quảng Nam Provincial General Hospital. — Photo courtesy of Alive & Thrive

QUẢNG NAM — Half of all childbirths in Quảng Nam Province now take place in 'Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding', ensuring thousands of newborns and their mothers have access to quality newborn care and breastfeeding support.

A survey from the Alive & Thrive initiative showed there were 23,600 newborns in Quảng Nam Province in 2020, of which 12,500 babies were delivered at Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding.

The statistics were revealed at a workshop on Tuesday to discuss efforts in the province to build a network of universal family-friendly health services, which also provides more equitable access to newborn care and breastfeeding support for ethnic minorities and families with special needs.

Supported by Irish Aid through the Alive & Thrive initiative, the Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding model in Việt Nam aims to improve quality of maternal and newborn care and promote the implementation of the 'Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding' in health facilities.

“We are delighted to know that up to one in four babies will be born in a Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding in Việt Nam by 2022 if all 58 enrolled hospitals from 12 provinces become accredited. Today, we are more confident about this vision after hearing Quảng Nam’s mission to have five out of seven hospitals designated as Centers of Excellence,” said Lisa Doherty, Deputy Head of Development, Embassy of Ireland in Việt Nam.

Quảng Nam has more Centers of Excellence for Breastfeeding than any other provinces in the country, with a percentage of early and exclusive breastfeeding of 95. Just two years after the initiative was launched in Quảng Nam, the rate of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth has sharply increased from 53 per cent to 86 per cent for vaginal births and 46 per cent to 96 per cent for caesarian births.

“Quảng Nam, which was a pandemic hotbed and natural hit area, received nearly 350 pregnant women from COVID-19 high-risk countries. Two mothers confirmed with COVID-19 were supported to practise prolonged skin-to-skin contact and direct breastfeeding and were also enabled to bring a birth companion of choice despite strict COVID-19 infection control measures. I am impressed with the resilience of the health services and health workers in Quảng Nam, and you are an exemplar to follow to maintain service provision for mothers and newborns during pandemics and disasters,” said Roger Mathisen, Southeast Asia Director for Alive & Thrive.

“We are proud of the comprehensive support package to ensure equitable access to breast milk for all newborns, including at-risk infants,” said Dr Mai Văn Mười, Director of Quảng Nam Department of Health.

“Each year in the province, there are more than 2,000 pre-term, low-birth weight and sick infants who cannot directly breastfeed for a period of time. Therefore, a Human Milk Bank Service Network was set up at Quảng Nam General Hospital, a Center of Excellence for Breastfeeding, to provide pasteurised donor human milk for these babies,” added Mười.

The Human Milk Bank in Quảng Nam was launched in July 2020 in connection with the Đà Nẵng Human Milk Bank and has already provided 54 litres of pasteurised human milk from donating mothers to 80 at-risk infants.

On April 14, three more hospitals will be recognised as the Centers of Excellence designation, including Vĩnh Đức General Hospital and Quế Sơn General Hospital in Quảng Nam, and Hải Châu General Hospital in Đà Nẵng, increasing the total number of Centers of Excellence in Việt Nam to 21. — VNS

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