Assessment of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Implementation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Children (Basel). 2018 Mar 11;5(3):
Authors: Al-Jawaldeh A, Abul-Fadl A
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program for promoting support and protection for breastfeeding. However, its impact on malnutrition, especially in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region (EMR) that are facing the turmoil of conflict and emergencies, deserves further investigation. Having said that, this paper aims to discuss the status and challenges to BFHI implementation in the EMR countries. Data on BFHI implementation, breastfeeding practices, and nutritional status were collected from countries through structured questionnaires, personal interviews, and databases. The 22 countries of the EMR were categorized as follows: 8 countries in advanced nutrition transition stage (group I), 5 countries in early nutrition transition stage (group II), 4 countries with significant undernutrition (group III), and 5 countries in complex emergency (group IV). The challenges to BFHI implementation were discussed in relation to malnutrition. BFHI was not implemented in 22.7% of EMR countries. Designated Baby-Friendly hospitals totaled 829 (group I: 78.4%, group II: 9.05%; group III: 7.36%; group: IV5.19%). Countries with advanced nutrition transition had the highest implementation of BFHI but the lowest breastfeeding continuity rates. On the other hand, poor nutritional status and emergency states were linked with low BFHI implementation and low exclusive breastfeeding rates but high continuity rates. Early initiation and longer duration of breastfeeding correlated negatively with overweight and obesity (p < 0.001). In countries with emergency states, breastfeeding continues to be the main source of nourishment. However, suboptimal breastfeeding practices prevail because of poor BFHI implementation which consequently leads to malnutrition. Political willpower and community-based initiatives are needed to promote breastfeeding and strengthen BFHI in the region.
PMID: 29534482 [PubMed]