Section 58
Chapter 57,034

A Multifaceted Approach to Revitalizing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in Croatia

Grgurić, J.; Zakarija-Grković, I.; Pavičić Bošnjak, A.; Stanojević, M.

Journal of Human Lactation Official Journal of International Lactation Consultant Association 32(3): 568-573


ISSN/ISBN: 1552-5732
PMID: 27121238
DOI: 10.1177/0890334415625872
Accession: 057033167

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The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched in Croatia in 1993. By 1998, 15 of 34 maternity facilities were designated "Baby-Friendly." Introduction of hospital bags, violating the International Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, led to a standstill in the BFHI. The aim of this article is to describe the successful reintroduction of the BFHI in Croatia between 2007 and 2015. After hospital bags were abolished in 2007, UNICEF Croatia undertook an assessment of BFHI implementation. All maternity facilities were invited by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health to join the renewed BFHI. UNICEF materials were translated and training for trainers, assessors, coordinators, and hospital staff held. By June 2015, 30 of 32 (94%) maternity facilities, providing care to 89% of newborns, were Baby-Friendly. Nine maternity hospitals have been renovated and 2 new hospitals have been built. Exclusive breastfeeding rates have risen 16% at 0 to 2 months (from 51% in 2007 to 67% in 2014) and 14% at 3 to 5 months (from 32% in 2007 to 46% in 2014). Fourteen "Breastfeeding-Friendly" primary care practices have been designated, 166 breastfeeding support groups are in operation, criteria for Mother-Friendly care are being piloted in 2 maternity facilities, and "Ten Steps in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit" are being introduced. The BFHI provides an excellent opportunity for revitalizing breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support in all settings. Recognition and support of the BFHI by the Croatian government was crucial for implementing the BFHI, whereas the marketing practices of the breast milk substitutes industry are an ongoing challenge.

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