Unicef: Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative for Coimbatore

COIMBATORE: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and Rotary Club of Coimbatore Spectrum have teamed up to implement in the district the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) , a project of the UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. The major focus of the project is on promoting breast feeding to eliminate infant mortality. Maternity centres in the district will be sensitised to this, Rotary Club president Sudarsan Rajagopalan told presspersons here on Wednesday.

The other focus is on establishing a system of accreditation of maternity centres. “People will have to know that deliveries should be conducted only in BFHI-accredited hospitals where breast feeding is advocated,” Mr. Rajagopalan said.

UNICEF would be the facilitator, the IAP would provide the expertise on the field and the Rotary Club would reach out to all the hospitals to bring them under the initiative, he said. UNICEF had allocated Rs. 25 lakh for training doctors of government and private hospitals. They, in turn, would spread the message wider.

“There may be 50 to 60 maternity and child care centres in Coimbatore. We will train 250 doctors of 30 centres in the first phase,” Mr. Rajagopalan said.

“It is not as if there is no sensitisation of mothers at all to the benefits of breast feeding to the child. The project’s aim is to improve things further,” the club’s Chairman for the Project for Reducing Child Mortality K.S. Sridharan Iyer said. “The child has the right to mother’s milk,” he pointed out. Centres or hospitals could contact Dr. Iyer on 99943-77073 and Mr. Rajagopalan on 94426-14445 to join the project.

Under the latest programme, maternity centres should frame a breastfeeding policy that would focus on this aspect alone. They should also have an exclusive wing and a co-ordinator to take the message of the programme to the mothers.

Even as this process would take four to five months, UNICEF and the State Government would get down to the task of forming an accreditation committee.

From THE HINDU

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