Eleven health facilities in Kampala have been awarded Baby Friendly Status during the Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (BFHI) accreditation ceremony held at the Sheraton Hotel on Wednesday September 6, 2023.
The event, organised by fhi360 in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the Ministry of Health, and other stakeholders, marks a significant step towards promoting and facilitating breastfeeding practices and other maternal and childcare services in healthcare facilities.
According to Hon. Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, the Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, the health facilities that have achieved Baby Friendly Status in Kampala include five KCCA health facilities: Komamboga HC IV, Kiswa HC II, Kisenyi HC IV, Kisugu HC III, and Kitebi HC III.
Others are Lubaga Hospital, Kiganda Maternity Centre, Nakasero Hospital, St. Stephen’s Hospital, Kawempe NRH, and Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital.
While presiding over the ceremony, Hon. Hajjat Minsa Kabanda, the Minister for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, emphasised the importance of addressing child-related issues, revealing that the government is in support of such.
The government is committed to safeguarding breastfeeding practices, not only within healthcare facilities but also in various workplaces,” Minister Kabanda said.
She added that BFHI is a crucial component of the Mother, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCAN) strategy, advocating for healthcare facilities to actively endorse and support breastfeeding practices.
“The long-term objective is to institutionalise this initiative across all healthcare facilities providing antenatal, maternity, and postnatal services in the country,” she said.
Dorothy Kisaka, the Executive Director of KCCA, in her speech read by the Director of Public Health and Environment, Dr. Daniel Okello, highlighted the alignment of the BFHI initiative with the city’s smart agenda pillar focusing on people’s well-being.
Background on the Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (BFHI)
The BFHI initiative aims to save 1.5 million lives annually through exclusive breastfeeding and calls on everyone to contribute to child feeding efforts.
The journey towards achieving Baby Friendly Status in Kampala began in August 2020 with a baseline assessment of 29 health facilities, none of which initially met the criteria. Subsequent onsite capacity strengthening, training of health workers, and mentorship efforts led to remarkable progress.
In 2023, 16 health facilities underwent external assessment, with 11 successfully meeting the requirements for the Baby Friendly Status.
This accomplishment signifies a significant stride towards enhancing the health and well-being of infants and mothers in the capital city and stands as a testament to the dedication and collaboration of various stakeholders in promoting breastfeeding practices and ensuring the survival and thriving of Kampala’s youngest citizens.