Pri­vate hos­pi­tals to be ‘baby-friendly’

Govt to aid with breast­feed­ing ini­tia­tive

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

PUTRAJAYA: Pri­vate hos­pi­tals will be as­sisted in ob­tain­ing the Baby-Friendly Hospi­tal Ini­tia­tive (BFHI) ac­cred­i­ta­tion, says Health Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Dzulke­fly Ahmad.

Dr Dzulke­fly said the min­istry was seek­ing to pro­mote the BFHI among pri­vate hos­pi­tals, as only 19 out of 175 pri­vate hos­pi­tals in Malaysia had ob­tained the ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

All govern­ment hos­pi­tals, in­clud­ing 130 un­der the Health Min­istry, three univer­sity hos­pi­tals and three mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals, are BFHI-ac­cred­ited.

The BFHI is a global ini­tia­tive by both the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) and United Na­tions In­ter­na­tional Chil­dren’s Emer­gency Fund (UNICEF) which aims to give every child the best start in life through an en­vi­ron­ment that sup­ports breast­feed­ing.

To be ac­cred­ited as baby-friendly, hos­pi­tals must com­ply with the 10 steps of suc­cess­ful breast­feed­ing, which in­cludes giv­ing new­born ba­bies no food or drink other than breast milk un­less med­i­cally in­di­cated; and plac­ing ba­bies in skin-to-skin con­tact with their mother im­me­di­ately af­ter birth for at least an hour.

Dr Dzulke­fly said there were mul­ti­ple fac­tors that could have hin­dered pri­vate health­care in­sti­tu­tions from adopt­ing the BFHI.

“It is not merely a mat­ter of what the pa­tients wants, but also a mat­ter of (get­ting) buy-in from the top man­age­ment and other stake­hold­ers who want to be con­vinced that the ac­cred­i­ta­tion would bring value, he said yes­ter­day af­ter a di­a­logue ses­sion with pri­vate hos­pi­tals on the mat­ter in the Health Min­istry near here.

“The min­istry has recorded a few im­por­tant is­sues in or­der to as­sist pri­vate hos­pi­tals to im­ple­ment this ini­tia­tive so that we can help them over­come chal­lenges,” he said.

In Malaysia in 2017, 61.5% of moth­ers prac­tices exclusive breast­feed­ing for up to six months while 96.4% of them are at least in­volved in com­ple­men­tary feed­ing prac­tices for up to six months.

As­so­ci­a­tion of Pri­vate Hos­pi­tals of Malaysia pres­i­dent Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the rea­son cer­tain pri­vate hos­pi­tals did not adopt the BFHI was be­cause some pa­tients were not com­fort­able breast­feed­ing.

“We en­cour­age the doc­tors and the hos­pi­tals to ed­u­cate the pa­tient.

“I know it is com­fort­able to (feed the baby) how­ever you want, but some­times pa­tients may not be aware of the ad­van­tages of breast­feed­ing,” he said.

Also present at the di­a­logue ses­sion was Health di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Ab­dul­lah.

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