Country experiences with the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative

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This set of case studies documents country experiences in implementing the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) over the 25 years of its existence.

Each of the 13 case studies – from Bolivia to Viet Nam – includes a section on achievements, challenges, lessons learned and recommendations to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in maternity facilities.

Several countries have been able to bring the BFHI to a national scale. In other countries the coverage has remained more confined. The findings of this compendium indicate that when the enabling environment is in place, baby-friendly hospitals can flourish. It also shows that strong social mobilization can create demand for breastfeeding support in maternity facilities and ensure sustainability of breastfeeding in communities.

Three key recommendations emanate from the case studies for updating the global BFHI guidance: 1) Integrate the BFHI into national policies, programmes and protocols; 2) Invest in building the capacity of health workers, for example via inclusion of lactation management and the BFHI in pre-service training; and 3) ensure ongoing monitoring of the quality of care. The new BFHI global guidance will be finalized by the end of the year.

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