The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched in 1991 by WHO and UNICEF, providing a framework to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in hospital and maternity facilities. The initiative follows the Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding and ensures adherence to the Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
Since 1991, more than 20,000 facilities worldwide have been designated as Baby-Friendly; however, there is still a long road ahead to ensuring that every maternity facility practices the Ten Steps.
The 25th anniversary of the Initiative is the perfect moment to celebrate the successes over the past quarter century and to set a future course on how to use the lessons learned to ensure that every newborn receives appropriate care. Therefore, WHO and UNICEF hosted the successful congress on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI Congress), 24-26 October, 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Representatives from Ministries of Health responsible for/overseeing the BFHI or IYCN (if no BFHI implemented in the country) and/or BFHI country coordinators from all around the world were invited. 133 countries were represented and 300+ participants came to:
- Celebrate achievements in improving quality of care for breastfeeding mothers
- Examine the current status of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative
- Discuss new guidance on country implementation of the Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding
- Form or strengthen regional networks to improve country programmes for maternity facilities