The prestigious Baby Friendly Award was presented to the Sure Start Children’s Centre in Penhill on 14 December making it the latest UK health care facility to win international recognition from UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund).
Sure Start Midwife, Tiina Korhonen, was one of the leads on achieving award status. She commented, “We decided to join forces with UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative to increase breastfeeding rates and to improve care for all mothers at the Sure Start Children’s Centre covering Pinehurst and Penhill. Breastfeeding protects babies against a wide range of serious illnesses including gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in infancy, as well as allergies and diabetes in childhood. We also know that breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of developing some cancers – although mums might be more interested in hearing that it is easier, cheaper and simply less hassle than bottle feeding.”
The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided 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 award is given to health facilities and hospitals after an assessment by a UNICEF team has shown that recognised best practice standards are in place.
Swindon PCT Chair, Michelle Howard was present for the official unveiling, which took place during the Breastmates Christmas Party. She said, “I’m very happy to be here today to see the Sure Start Children’s Centre receive this impressive award. I would like to thank all the staff and mothers using the centre for what has been 4 years of hard work to achieve this level of care, and it is a standard I hope to see replicated right across Swindon Primary Care Trust.”
Andrew Radford, Baby Friendly Initiative Programme Director, was also keen to praise the Children’s Centre. “We are delighted that the Sure Start Children’s Centre in Swindon has achieved full Baby Friendly status. Surveys show us that most mothers want to breastfeed but don’t always get the support they need. Mothers at the Sure Start Children’s Centre can be confident that their health visitors and midwives will provide the highest standard of care.”
Sure Start staff above, Tiina Korhonen – Sure Start Midwife, Dr Tuchmachi – Consultant / Community Paediatrician, Sylvia Bailey – Community Midwifery Manager, Rita Child – Admin & Clerical, Janet Rogers – Admin & Clerical, Elaine Coghlan – Nursery Nurse