Community supports hospital and health initiative
Nickol Bay Hospital has spent the last 18 months working on an international initiative promoting breast-feeding.
Now, after the long hours and effort put in by many people of the community, accreditors from the Australian committee of the World Health Organisation have visited the hospital, to see if it has what it takes to promote the Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI).
BFHI coordinator, Kath Badzinska, said that it is an accreditation process, so it is quite involved and there were many people who helped with this journey.
“We had the accreditors in last week, where the women were interviewed in the community about their experiences at Nickol Bay Hospital,” she said.
“They were very kind and positive in the things that they said about us which we are really grateful for, because we can put as many posters up as we like but it’s about what the women think of us that counts.
“And also the proof that we can present to them in our data of how many women initiate breast-feeding with us, how many women leave us breast-feeding and the support that the women believe they receive from the hospital.”
Ms Badzinska said it is not about those women who don’t want to breastfeed, it is about the women that do want to breastfeed but are having difficulties in some way or another.
“Influences of a successful breastfeeding mother are huge, breastfeeding affect the child, the mother and the community,” she said.
During the process, Nickol Bay Hospital has had people from the community helping them, the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the employees in the hospital.
“Everyone in the hospital had to learn about the initiative,” Ms Badzinska said.
“From the cleaners, storemen, nurses, doctors, everyone.
“It was huge, but everyone pulled together and we believe we have done really well.”
“The accreditors were very positive about us, they said that we were a lovely team that work in a wonderful unit and that the mothers really loved us, which really impressed them.
“And although it is not formalised yet, all of the hard yards are done and now the accreditors take back all of their information that they gathered to the Australia committee and then they approve us or they don’t.”
Australian Breastfeeding Narelle Dale said that Kath Badzinska, as the coordinator of the committee, has been there from day one.
“She has put in countless amounts of her own hours and time to get this up and running,” she said.
“So, she has been a great leader and without her leadership, we probably wouldn’t have come this far, so she has ben very, very inspirational.”
Ms Badzinska said that a baby friendly hospital has a lot of kudos attached to it.
“Mothers who are researching where to have their babies, one thing that they look for are baby friendly hospitals, well there is only three in WA,” she said.
“We are hoping to be the fourth and also the first rural Western Australian hospital to achieve the accreditation.”
The current three baby friendly hospitals in WA include King Edward, Joondalup and Kalgoorlie.
The Baby Friendly Health Initiative is funded by the Royalties for Regions.