EMIRATES – Sharjah Introduces Healthcare Professional to UNICEF’s Latest Breastfeeding Guidelines

Abu Dhabi, UAE – To ensure that Sharjah’s healthcare professionals working in antenatal and postnatal care are aware of the latest breastfeeding practices worldwide, the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Office, SBFO, organized training courses for 231 medical and non-medical staff across the emirate’s major hospitals and health institutions.

The 20-hour training course, conducted in collaboration with the Khorfakkan Hospital in  Sharjah and the Family Health Promotion Centre, was aimed at strengthening their knowledge and skills to successfully implement the UNICEF-WHO-formulated “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (Ten Steps)” 2018 Guidelines and the “International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes” (also known as the WHO Code).

The participants underwent through four session over three-day in April, May and June. The SBFO and Khorfakkan Hospital have also agreed to train an additional 300 hospital staff members by the end of 2019.

Following the latest revision of the training course, in December 2018, the SBFO launched the Arabic version of the Ten Steps and distributed it to all Sharjah-based health facilities for implementation.

Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al-Ghazal, Executive Director of the SBFO, said, “This training course is part of the SBFO’s mandate to keep up with the recent developments in the medical field to ensure that Sharjah’s medical staff and health professionals follow the highest international standards in maternity and newborn services, especially after UNICEF and WHO released the revised BFHI implementation guidelines”.

“The practice of breastfeeding lays the foundation of a healthy life for both the mother and the baby. This is a part of Sharjah’s holistic vision to care for all children from birth, in all spects of life, including protecting their health and rights”, she added.

The Sharjah Baby-Friendly Project successfully adopted four initiatives that were implemented simultaneously for the first time in the world.

The first initiative, baby-friendly health facilities, is based on the international baby-friendly hospital initiative, launched by the WHO and the UNICEF. The other three initiative included mother-friendly workplaces, breastfeeding-friendly nurseries and mother-and baby-friendly public places.

In December 2015, Sharjah was recognized as the world’s first baby – friendly city by the WHO and the UNICEF.

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