Private hospitals to be ‘baby-friendly’
Govt to aid with breastfeeding initiative
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.