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First “Mother-and-Baby Friendly” hospital in Pacific announced

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Alison Clarke
WVoN co-editor 

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has announced the accreditation of the first “Mother-and-Baby Friendly” hospital in the Pacific.

Along with UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services said that they had recognised the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, Solomon Islands, for its policies and practices encouraging maternal and child health.

The most important was protecting breastfeeding as the only source of food and fluid for the baby within the first six months of life.

“This is a big score for Solomon Islands. The National Referral Hospital supervises the delivery of up to 5,000 babies every year. We must ensure that every child is given the best start in life.

“There is no better way than for a baby to experience the immediate bonding with the mother and  to be provided with all the nutrients necessary to ensure a proper foundation in life”, said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr Isiye Ndombi.

“The economic savings of breastfeeding are critical not only for governments, but also for poor families who spend large parts of their incomes on infant formula,” Dr Ndombi added.

Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr Cedric Alependava, said that if proper breastfeeding is practiced and the mother-and-baby friendly steps are sustained and expanded, child mortality in Solomon Islands would come down.

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