Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)-the Philippines, Bangladesh
Country of Operation
- Philippines Department of HealthGovernment
- Bangladesh Breastfeeding FoundationNot-for-profit
SummaryThe Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is an effort by UNICEF and the WHO to designate maternity facilities as 'baby-friendly' by ensuring they do not accept free or low-cost breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and have implemented 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding
The goal of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is to encourage optimal breastfeeding practices through prolonged, exclusive and early initiated breastfeeding. Early initiated breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for a prolonged duration has been proven to protect infants against different infectious and chronic diseases and essential for cognitive development. Breastfeeding practices throughout the world remain suboptimal, especially due to traditional beliefs around the world that breast feeding is harmful to the infant.
Key program components
The process of awarding Baby-Friendly status is currently controlled by national breastfeeding authorities, using Global Criteria that can be applied to maternity care in every country. Additional BFHI components, including questionnaires used by external teams to assess facilities before Baby-Friendly designation, may be requested when appropriate from the breastfeeding authority of each country. In many areas where hospitals have been designated Baby-Friendly, more mothers are breastfeeding their infants, and child health has improved.
The Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFI), the name for the Filipino version of the initiative, was launched by the Department of Health in 1992 in line with the Rooming-in and Breastfeeding Act of 1992 (RA 7600). In this law, all private and government private hospitals offering maternity and newborn care may be accredited as Mother-Baby Friendly if they implement the 10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding adopted from UNICEF/WHO criteria of BFI. In the mid-1990s, the Philippines Department of Health accredited 83% of 1,700 targeted hospitals.
To receive the BFHI certification, the Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation and the participating hospital must follow the following steps:
1. BFHI training: A trainer must carry out a 20 hour long course over 4 days on breastfeeding promotion and support for the maternity doctors and nurses of qualifying hospitals.
2. Half-day orientation session: The core trainers will also conduct a half-day orientation session for doctors of other disciplines, and well as an orientation for other hospital staff.
3. Practice 15 steps to successful breastfeeding: Indonesia has 5 additional steps to the already existing 10 steps for BFHI accreditation. Once all the staff members have received training on breastfeeding, IYCF, and maternal nutrition, it is expected that all hospital staff members, auxiliary/ancillary staff will start practicing the successful breastfeeding steps in their hospitals.
4. Self assessment appraisal: After practicing the 15 steps, the hospital will conduct a self-assessment, relate their status to BBF, and ask for an external assessment.
5. External assessment: After completion of the self-assessment, one international assessor and two national assessors will conduct an external assessment using the “Global standard external hospital assessment tool”, which will examine the successful completion of each of the ten steps.
6. BFHI committee: A BFHI committee will meet monthly to review and conduct internal monitoring of the BFHI status and send the resulting report to the BBF secretariat.
7. Certification: After successful completion of the external assessment, BBF will certify the hospital as "baby friendly".