Qatar aims to accredit all the hospitals and health centres in the country to be baby-friendly within two years, said an official of the Ministry of Public Health ( MoPH) yesterday.
“A baby-friendly hospital initiative is one that promotes breastfeeding,” explained Dr Sheikha Anoud bint Mohamed al-Thani, manager, Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases at MoPH.
“There are 10 steps to be fulfilled for hospitals and eight for health centres to be accredited as baby-friendly facilities. We have started it at some hospitals and reached some steps,” she explained.
“Only 29% women in Qatar provide exclusive breastfeeding for six months. We hope, we can increase it to more than 50% in two years,” the official continued.
MoPH launched a workshop yesterday to train the healthcare professionals on the baby-friendly hospital initiative. Representatives from all hospitals that deal with children and mothers, including four hospitals of Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation and private hospitals such as Al Ahli, Al Emadi, Doha Clinic among others are participating in the workshop.
Sheikha Anoud said a consultant from the World Health Organisation (WHO) will conduct a situation analysis in Qatar to determine what is missing to complete the initiative. The participants at the workshop will go back to the hospitals and train the staff. The WHO consultant will make a second visit later to analyse the situation again.
“There are several steps suggested by the WHO and the Unicef and we will integrate them. We will have one module that fits Qatar,” noted the official.
“We also need to promote that only homemade complimentary food be given to the baby after six months,” she added.