Compliance of a Baby-Friendly Designated Hospital in Ghana With the WHO/UNICEF Baby and Mother-Friendly Care Practices.J Hum Lact 2019; :890334419848728JH
Although the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has improved breastfeeding rates globally, weak monitoring still affects hospital-level implementation.
To reassess compliance of a Baby-Friendly Hospital with the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, HIV and Infant Feeding, and Mother-Friendly Care following the WHO/UNICEF global criteria.
In this cross-sectional, prospective, mixed-methods study (N = 180), clinical staff (n = 60), pregnant women (n = 40), postpartum mothers (n = 60), and mothers of babies in intensive care (n = 20) were randomly selected from one urban secondary-level public hospital in Ghana designated as Baby-Friendly in 2004 but never reassessed. Data were collected through interviews, document reviews, and observations using the revised WHO/UNICEF external reassessment tool and analyzed quantitatively using the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative computer tool. Scores higher than 80% signified a pass (high compliance). Scores rated as low (< 50%) and moderate (50-80%) signified noncompliance.
The facility passed the criteria for full compliance with the International Code (86%) but failed other components. Compliance with the Ten Steps was moderate (55%). Step 7 about rooming-in (84%) and Step 9 about human milk substitutes (100%) were passed, whereas Step 1 about written breastfeeding policies (0%), Step 2 about staff training (7%), and Step 4 about early breastfeeding initiation (31%) were met the least. Compliance with Mother-Friendly Care (34%) and HIV and Infant Feeding (47%) were low. Main implementation gaps were unavailability of policies and staff's inadequate knowledge about Baby-Friendly practices.
Improving staff training and maternal counseling, routinely reassessing designated facilities, and providing technical support in problematic areas might sustain implementation.