Bridgeton Health Centre has taken the first step towards gaining recognition from the United Nations for its efforts in promoting breastfeeding.
The Health Centre has been awarded a Certificate of Commitment from UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund). The Certificate represents Bridgeton's first step towards gaining permanent recognition from the international organisation for its work in endorsing breastfeeding as the healthiest option for mothers and babies.
According to the Health Centre's General Manager, Lorna Dunipace, the award of the Certificate is the latest step in a long-term campaign to improve the health of local families: "We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK's Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates, in the first instance, and also to improve care generally for all the mothers who are patients here at Bridgeton."
"UNICEF are obviously a worldwide organisation and they keep their eye on developments all over the world. We're really proud that they've recognised that we're doing great work here at Bridgeton Health Centre."
Public Health Practitioner Ali Macdonald says encouraging more mothers to nurse their babies themselves is a top priority: "Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy, as well as allergies and diabetes in childhood.
"We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother's risk of some types of cancer - although Mums might be more interested in hearing that it's easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle-feeding."
Bridgeton Health Centre's Certificate of Commitment has been awarded thanks to their work with the Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. The Initiative is a global programme that provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care given to all mothers and babies.
In the UK, the Initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to enable successful breastfeeding. The Certificate of Commitment recognises that a healthcare facility is dedicated to implementing recognised best practice standards.
Programme Director of the Baby Friendly Initiative, Andrew Radford, has congratulated the team in the East End of Glasgow: "We are delighted that Bridgeton Health Centre has received this award. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don't always get the support they need.
"Mothers at Bridgeton Health Centre can have the satisfaction of knowing that their midwives and health visitors are aiming to provide the highest standard of care."
Notes for Editors
* Figures for 2003 show that, among all mothers of new babies registered to GPs in Bridgeton, 36% breastfeed at birth. This drops to 18.1% at 10-12 days after birth, and 11.2% at 6 weeks after birth.
* More information on the Baby Friendly Initiative can be obtained at www.babyfriendly.org.uk .
* For more information contact Annalena Winslow at NHS Greater Glasgow Communications on 0141 201 4447, Ali Macdonald at Bridgeton Health Centre on 0141 531 6528, or via UNICEF UK on 0207 430 0162.