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Noel Holmes Hospital on a Path to Becoming Baby-Friendly Certified

Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Hanover, is making significant strides towards becoming an internationally certified Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH).

The announcement was made by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, who toured the Type C facility on Thursday (July 20) with a team of senior medical officials from the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

A BFH aims to give every baby the best start in life by creating a healthcare environment that promotes breastfeeding.

This is in keeping with the global campaign to prepare health systems and mobilise healthcare workers to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

The initiative is also part of Government’s thrust to provide a framework that enables mothers to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months (180 completed days), followed by complementary foods and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

Speaking with journalists following the tour, Dr Tufton said that a dedicated section of the hospital is being retrofitted to create a more conducive environment for maternal care.

“That really means… giving mothers a much more comfortable setting for them and their babies, like privacy for breastfeeding… changing around the room, giving easier access, more privacy screens, a comfortable setting with air conditioning and chairs,” Dr. Tufton noted.

He said the project also involves comprehensive training of hospital staff to ensure they can effectively cater to the needs of new mothers and their babies.

More than 120 staff members have already completed the training, and efforts are under way to train the remaining 70 to 80 personnel.

“It also involves training of staff to accommodate this baby-friendly designation. So, it’s a designation that you can get, and you can lose because it’s an international designation. I’m happy to report that Noel Holmes is well advanced,” Dr. Tufton said.

The Health and Wellness Minister expressed his satisfaction with the progress being made by the management of the hospital to meet the requirements for becoming baby-friendly certified.

“I toured the facility to see where air-conditioning (AC) [units] have been put into the rooms, places being cleaned out, painted and they’re going to be retiling and so on. So, I do anticipate, over the next few months, to come back here and officially declare Noel Holmes a baby-friendly facility,” Dr. Tufton said.

He added that the hospital’s journey towards becoming a baby-friendly healthcare facility signifies Jamaica’s commitment to maternal and child health.

“That’s a good thing for Jamaican mothers and their children who are in these parts and want extra comfort for themselves and their babies. It’s also good for post-maternal care in terms of just giving a better and more comfortable setting as we provide clinical guidance and support,” he said.