Bridgeton Health Centre has been recognised by the United Nations for its efforts in promoting breastfeeding. Bridgeton is the first health centre in the east of Glasgow to receive this award.
The Health Centre will receive their Baby Friendly Award from UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) on Wednesday 28th November at 10.30am. The UNICEF Award recognises the work done by staff in endorsing breastfeeding as the healthiest option for mothers and babies.
The Award will be presented to staff by Professor Sir John Arbuthnott, Chairman, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.
Professor Sir John Arbuthnott said: “I am delighted to present staff with this award from UNICEF. UNICEF is a worldwide organisation and they keep their eye on developments all over the world. We're really proud that they have recognised that we're doing great work here at Bridgeton Health Centre. I will be retiring as Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde at the end of November and am pleased to be able to finish my period as Chair at such a worthwhile event.
“I would like to thank all staff for their commitment and hard work which can only help to improve the health of local families.
“The UNICEF award means that mums in Bridgeton can be assured that all the help and advice they need on feeding their babies is available through this Centre.”
Councillor James Coleman, Chair East Glasgow Community Health and Care Partnership which manages Bridgeton Health Centre said: “The east end, one of Glasgow’s areas of traditionally very low breastfeeding rates, has shown a rise in 2006 - 2007, with breastfeeding rates increasing from 23.6 per cent in 2005 to 29 per cent. A lot of work has been going on in the area over the last few years which has helped with this and this award recognises all the hard work done by staff and local breastfeeding support groups which run in the area”.
East Glasgow CHCP, Public Health Practitioner Ali Macdonald says encouraging more mothers to nurse their babies themselves is a top priority:
“Improving breastfeeding rates is important for the health of our local community. Medical research has shown that breastfeeding has important health benefits for both mother and baby. It protects the newborn infant from respiratory, ear and digestive infections and can also help protect against childhood diabetes and allergies.
“These benefits persist into childhood, with breastfed children having a significantly reduced risk of obesity, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Breastfeeding also promotes brain development, mouth and jaw formation and straighter teeth”.
"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.
“Breastfeeding mothers in East Glasgow are also lucky to have access to a peer support programme, where local women who have breastfed their own children offer their help and expertise to other local Mums who are breastfeeding”.
Bridgeton Health Centre's Baby Friendly in the community accreditation 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 UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, Sue Ashmore, said: "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 providing the highest standard of care."
Notes to Editors
The Baby Friendly Initiative is a worldwide programme of the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
It was launched in 1992 to encourage maternity hospitals to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and to practise in accordance with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.
The Baby Friendly Initiative came to the UK in 1994 and, in 1998, its principles were extended to cover the work of community health care services in the Seven Point Plan for the Promotion, Protection and Support of Breastfeeding in Community Health Care Settings.
The Baby Friendly Initiative works with the health care system to ensure a high standard of care for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and babies. We provide support for health care facilities which are seeking to implement best practice and we offer an assessment and accreditation process which recognises those which have achieved the required standard.
To achieve the award, the Health Centre had to meet the seven criteria set out in the UNICEF “baby friendly in the community” award.
Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
Training all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement the policy
Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding
Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding.
Encourage exclusive and continued breastfeeding with the appropriately timed introduction of complimentary foods.
Provide a welcoming atmosphere for breastfeeding families.
Promote co-operation between health care staff, breastfeeding support groups and the local community
UNICEF assessment for this process involves assessing the policy, interviewing both pregnant women and new mothers, interviewing health care staff and staff with direct responsibility for the care of breastfeeding mothers and assessing the premises themselves.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow Communications on 0141 201 4447.