Six hospitals were on Monday conferred with Baby-Friendly Hospital Status, according to a release from the Ministry of Public Health yesterday.
The six are the West Demerara Regional Hospital, Davis Memorial Hospital, Mahaicony Cottage Hospital, Mahdia District Hospital, Lethem Regional Hospital and the Upper Demerara Hospital.
Among the criteria for baby friendly hospital status are to have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff, informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breast feeding and giving newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
Speaking at the accreditation ceremony at the Ocean View International Hotel, Liliendaal, Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton underlined the importance of breastfeeding.
He pointed out that in 1992, when the Breastfeeding project was launched globally; it was obvious that Guyana’s culture of exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding was on the decline.
“It was no co-incidence that Guyana also had relatively high infant mortality and morbidity rates due to diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory tract infection and malnutrition,” he added.
The External Assessment was done during the period February to March 2015 and 12 out of the 19 hospitals in the programme had signalled their readiness to be assessed to determine their status. Six of these twelve hospitals have now attained the status.
“It is noteworthy that Guyana is the only country in the English speaking Caribbean with hospitals accredited with the Baby-Friendly Hospital status.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank all of those persons who worked tirelessly to ensure that the necessary criteria were met and to urge you to maintain baby-friendly status in those 6 hospitals,” Dr. Norton stated.
The Minister thanked WHO and UNICEF for their support over the years and urged the remaining hospitals in the programme to continue working hard to attain baby-friendly hospital status.
According to him, the aim is to ensure that there are baby-friendly hospitals in all of the Regions of Guyana.