International accreditation for Prince Albert Hospital
Prince Albert Hospital can now also boast with the Mother and Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) status. The hospital, which received its accreditation in July this year, is one of three public hospitals in the Central Karoo to have this status. The other two being Laingsburg and Beaufort West hospitals.
The MBFHI is a global campaign launched in 1992 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and is based on the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Maternity facilities are assessed using globally established criteria and those that meet all the criteria may be accredited as Baby-Friendly. In South Africa, the MBFHI was launched in 1994 and St. Monica’s Maternity Hospital was the first hospital to be accredited Mother and Baby-Friendly. The Mother and Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative supports the right of mothers to choose how to feed and care for their babies. Healthcare professionals have the responsibility to care, encourage best practice and to ensure that parents are given appropriate, accurate and unbiased information to allow them to make fully informed choices.
Breastfeeding is acknowledged to be the best way of feeding and caring for infants and is important for infant development, while also providing benefits to the mother. Research findings on the introduction of MBFHI in health facilities have been associated with a reduction in infant mortality, particularly as a result of diarrhoea and respiratory infection.
All staff categories, clinical and non-clinical, at Prince Albert Hospital and Clinic were trained over a two-year period. Several inspections were done by the National Department of Health to ensure that the services mentioned complies with the criteria and to identify gaps for further training.
The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are:
1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all healthcare staff.
2. Train all healthcare staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one half-hour of birth.
5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation, even if they should be separated from their infants.
6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk, not even sips of water, unless medically indicated.
7. Practice rooming in, that is, allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9. Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (“dummies”) to breastfeeding infants.
10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Prince Albert Hospital delivers an average of 15 babies per month, which includes Leeu Gamka and Merweville.
To contact the hospital: 023 541 1300/ 1301