Queen Rania visits Sahab Jamil Tutounji Hospital becomes ‘baby friendly’

August 30, 2007

(Jordan Times - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania on declared Jamil Tutounji Hospital in Sahab a baby-friendly hospital as part of ongoing activities marking World Breastfeeding Week.  This brings the number of baby-friendly hospitals in Jordan to six, according to a UNICEF statement. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is an accreditation process that requires a hospital to reach specific standards related to the 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding, which include helping mothers to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life and guiding them on how to breastfeed. During a visit to the facility yesterday, the Queen, who is UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for Children, checked on the services provided at the paediatric and gynaecology wards and met with patients.  She spoke with mothers benefiting from the hospital’s counselling services on breastfeeding and also checked the breastfeeding room. During a brief meeting with UNICEF Representative in Jordan Anne Skatvedt, who was present at the hospital, the Queen discussed means to activate cooperation between UNICEF and the concerned parties on promoting breastfeeding.  “There is nothing more natural, nothing more instinctive, and nothing more effective than breastfeeding. Protecting her baby is a mother’s first instinct and a mother’s milk is the most powerful vaccine there is against infectious and non-infectious disease. That is why I am proud of UNICEF’s efforts to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding,” Queen Rania said in an earlier statement marking World Breastfeeding Week. The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is based on encouraging mothers to breastfeed the first hour of life. Early initiation and breastfeeding exclusively for six months without any additional food or liquid can save more than one million babies. The Ministry of Health and UNICEF Jordan have worked on upgrading the capacities of health professionals in several hospitals and centres to promote breastfeeding, in addition to organising a series of awareness-raising activities.  These include activities at the governorate level where mother and child health centres are holding awareness sessions on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, the statement said. Research has shown that neonatal mortality is reduced by 22 per cent when children are breastfed within an hour of birth. This is very relevant to Jordan since 70 per cent of infant deaths are neonatal, thus reducing the latter will help reduce infant deaths and help the Kingdom achieve its Millennium Development Goal 4 on child mortality. “In Jordan, and according to the Demographic Health Survey for 2002, only 26.7 per cent of women breastfeed their babies exclusively during the first six months after delivery,” Dr. Hanan Najmi, head of the maternity and breastfeeding unit at the Ministry of Health, noted. Under global breastfeeding goals, at least 60 per cent of infants below six months of age should be exclusively breastfed, and at least 70 per cent of infants between six to nine months should receive both breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding. The mother and child directorate at the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with UNICEF and WHO, trains staff in most health centres and in some hospitals, and has produced informative audiovisual material on breastfeeding.  Also yesterday, Queen Rania visited the Salboud Basic Coeducational School in Sahab, where she was briefed on the school’s requirements.