(Press release) Basseterre, St. Kitts – With the month of April designated as Maternal and Child Health Month on the Rotary calendar, the Rotary Club of Liamuiga welcomed Ms. Mary Caines, Clinical Instructor, from the Service Education Department of the Joseph N France General Hospital, at its weekly meeting to speak about Breastfeeding.
The trained and certified health professional, with over twenty years of experience in Health Care, gave an overview of the importance of breastfeeding, at the community and institutional levels, for expecting mothers, newborns, and implementation of the National Breast-Feeding Policy.
In her presentation, she took to the opportunity to also inform the attentive membership that the Joseph N France General Hospital recently received its certification from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) as being Baby-Friendly.
The noteworthy accolade was granted in October 2022, with the official plaque presentation held on 7 March 2023, by Dr. Amalia Del Riego PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries.
As a baby-friendly country, St. Kitts and Nevis now follows the ten (10) step plan using the global standard by which maternal facilities are assessed and accredited for successful breastfeeding. These include:
1. Complying with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions
2. Ensuring that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding
3. Discussing the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and families
4. Facilitating immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mother to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth
5. Supporting mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties
6. Not providing breastfed newborns with any foods or fluids other than breastmilk unless medically indicated
7. Enabling mothers and their infants to remain together and practice rooming-in 24 hours a day
8. Supporting mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding
9. Counselling mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats, and pacifiers
10. Coordinating discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care
Ms. Caines ended the interactive session by calling on Rotarians to continue their work with health agencies, as they currently do with the global polio eradication programme, by providing the necessary support to better improve access to essential medical services, for trained health care providers, mothers, and their children.
The meeting was held at the Creole Restaurant in Frigate Bay Road on Wednesday 18th April 2023.