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All maternity wards in Croatia designated baby-friendly

GDojcinovic/UNICEF

Zagreb, April 19th, 2016.

The biggest maternity ward in Croatia, part of the University Hospital Centre Zagreb attained the Baby-Friendly designation, thus joining 30 maternity wards already certified for their excellence in maternity care and support to breastfeeding. Croatia has now joined the ranks of leading countries in the world that promote breastfeeding in all maternity wards. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative has been implemented in the country by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF since 1993.

At the award giving ceremony, prof. dr. sc. Ante Ćorušić, acting manager of KBC Zagreb and prof. dr. sc. Slavko Orešković, Head of the Women’s Diseases and Obstetrics Department were awarded recognition by Valentina Otmačić, Head of UNICEF Office in Croatia, dr. Ružica Palić-Kramarić, Assistant to the Minister of Health and prof. dr. sc. Josip Grgurić, national coordinator of the Baby-Friendly Hospitals initiative. The staff was congratulated on the important achievement ensuring mothers and babies receive not only quality medical care but also the best possible support for breastfeeding and attachment during their first days together.

“Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a comprehensive, detailed and thorough journey toward excellence in providing evidence-based, maternity care with the goal of achieving optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding and we congratulate all staff in maternity wards in Croatia for having taking this journey with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health. Humanisation of the medical care in maternity wards supports the wellbeing of newborns and mothers, and helps them build firm ground for their relationship and the child’s development in the first 1000 days. For prematurely born infants, this step forward is even more crucial as kangaroo care and breast milk are probably the best individually tailor-made medicine there is”, noted Valentina Otmačić, Head of UNICEF Office for Croatia.

prof. Josip Grgurić (UNICEF), dr. Ružica Palić-Kramarić (Ministarstvo zdravlja), dr. Marcela Ijilić Krpan, dr. Dragica Gazdek, prof. Slavko Orešković (Klinika za ženske bolesti i porode), Valentina Otmačić (UNICEF)

National Coordinator for the Baby-Friendly Initiative, prof. Josip Grgurić said that the initiative which started 23 years ago in Croatia, does not end with all maternity wards being designated Baby-Friendly. “The next step is to improve the existing practice in maternity wards so they become more mother-friendly, and also to extend the initiative to infants in neonatal intensive care units because current practice does not recognise the role of breastfeeding in development and healing of the prematurely born babies”, explained prof. Grgurić.

In the assessment of the compliance with “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”, the Zagreb Hospital maternity ward was praised for encouraging skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding immediately after birth as well as supporting breastfeeding in neonatal intensive care units.

“Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” that a maternity ward has to achieve in order to be designated Baby-Friendly includes a range of measures for encouraging breastfeeding right after birth and supporting mothers after they leave the maternity ward. Maternity wards that want to keep this confirmation of quality care for mothers and children need to ask for new external evaluation every three years.

Updated: 01 July 2016
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