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July 2017
 Baby Friendly Hospital – Why Me?

Ms Grace Ma
Midwife Consultant, Lactation Consultant
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Queen Mary Hospital

The Queen Mary Hospital has started the journey of Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH) designation with full support from the hospital administration and frontline staff since December 2013.  We have just achieved the Level 2 Award1 in May this year. Looking back, there have been numerous unanticipated achievements apart from the expected quality improvement on breastfeeding support services.  We have renewed our friendship with our great partner, the neonatal team.  We all enjoy the new relationship from within to promote, protect and support breastfeeding with better communication.  Moreover, the newly developed or revised guidelines mean a great deal to staff in terms of reducing conflicts and decreasing mother-baby separation.
The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Steering Committee
Our Hospital Chief Executive, Dr. Luk, has reminded us of the importance of promoting the messages to and involving every member of the staff so that everybody would own the challenge of achieving BFH. There have been hard times walking the BFHI journey at the beginning. Luckily, we have set up a strong foundation, the BFHI Steering Committee.  The committee members include the head of relevant departments or delegates i.e. Hospital Chief Executive, General Manager (Nursing), General Manager (Human Resource), General Manager (Administrative Services), Chief of Service (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), Chief of Service (Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine), Department Operations Manager (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), Department Operations Manager (Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine), anaesthetist, dietitian and so on. The BFHI information can thus be widely distributed within the hospital effectively.  Moreover, after many staff forums, training sessions, engagement activities…..we begin to taste the first fruits of our labour. 

BFHI Training – Weekly Alert
Lunch Talk on Breastfeeding for Hospital Staff

We have been able to gain support from the Central Support Team to transport the expressed breastmilk from the Postnatal Wards to the Neonatal Unit as the first priority of call orders.  With the help of the Information Technology Department, the BFHI webpage has been set up; this provides staff with easy access to news about the BFHI and breastfeeding support programmes.  Moreover, the Human Resource Department distributes a welcome pack to all ranks of pregnant staff when they submit their maternity leave application.  The welcome pack contains information on various kinds of breastfeeding support offered to staff by our hospital e.g. breastfeeding room information, 6-month free loan of breast pump, lactation consultant support, etc. 

Welcome Pack for Pregnant Staff
Our hospital was recognized as a Distinguished Family-friendly Employer and received the Award for Breastfeeding Support in the 2015/16 Family-Friendly Employers Award Scheme of the Family Council.  Indeed, to our great delight, the involvement of all grades and ranks of staff in different Departments and Units of the hospital has reaped benefits for all of us.

Behind the Scene……
Behind the scene of success, we have, under the leadership of the BFHI Steering Committee, a strong team consisting of 5 Working Groups (figure 1), each with a different focus i.e. policy/action plans development, clinical guidelines, training, promotion and communication and audit/evaluation.  There are two leaders in each Working Group, one from the Obstetrics and the other from the Neonatal Unit.  Team members include obstetricians, paediatricians, lactation consultants, ward managers and frontline staff.  Although each of the Working Groups operates within its own remit, their outcomes are closely related and work towards the BFHI direction. 
The Way Forward
Having been on this BFH designation journey (walking, running or driving) for the past 3 years, we are beginning to understand that achieving BFH designation is not our final destination. We need to sustain our effort in continuous improvement on the front of providing breastfeeding support to our mothers and their newborns.  We are so proud of having the Steering Committee and the Working Groups. These will continue to provide leadership and sustain our passion to achieve the mission of providing high quality Breastfeeding services.

The Queen Mary Hospital BFHI Steering Committee under the leadership of the Hospital Chief Executive

 Figure 1: 

  • Baby-Friendly Hospital is committed to implementing the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding as well as the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions.

  • The process from the Registration of Intent to Baby Friendly Hospital Designation would take about 5 years.

  • Commitment and leadership of the highest level of hospital administration, as well as buy-in and ownership of all grades and ranks of staff from different Departments of the hospital are essential for success.  

  • 愛嬰醫院承諾履行世界衛生組織/聯合國兒童基金會訂定的成功母乳餵哺十項指引國際母乳代用品銷售守則其後世界衛生會得出

  • 這個由意向登記至愛嬰醫院定名的認証程序約為五年

  • 醫院管理之最高層承諾領導,以及得到醫院不同部門所有職系和職級的認受擁有是成功的關鍵。

Note 1: The Baby Friendly Hospital Designation process in Hong Kong consists of the following 5 stages: Registration of Intent; Award of the Certificate of Commitment; Award of Level I Participation; Award of Level II Participation; and Award of Baby Friendly Hospital.

Views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of the BFHIHKA.                                           

Editor-in-Chief: Dr Shirley Leung
Editorial Team: Ms Georgiana Cheung, Ms Candice Chin, Ms Sing Chu, Ms Christine Lam, Ms Iris Lam, Ms Grace Ma

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