Quang Ninh obstetrics hospital named Centre of Excellence for Breastfeeding hinh anh 1At the event (Photo: Alive & Thrive)
Quang Ninh (VNS/VNA) - The Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital in Quang Ninh province became the first hospital in Northern Vietnam to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Breastfeeding at a ceremony on July 28.

On the same day, the hospital also launched its Human Milk Bank and a specialised clinic providing infant and young child feeding counselling to parents and other caregivers.

“Integrating three pro-breastfeeding interventions at once, the hospital shows responsibility and determination in protecting, supporting and promoting breastfeeding,” said Roger Mathisen, Regional Director for Alive & Thrive Southeast Asia.

“The Centre of Excellence model and Human Milk Bank assure that every child can access breastmilk during their hospital stay, and the counseling clinic equips mothers with the necessary knowledge and skills to continue breastfeeding after discharge. This is a good practice that needs to be scaled up.”

To become a Centre of Excellence for Breastfeeding, the hospital passed a rigorous assessment by the Ministry of Health. The hospital also received positive feedback from mothers about the neonatal care services they experienced.

Dr. Nguyen Duc Vinh, Head of the Maternal and Child Health Department of the Ministry of Health, said that the Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital has made impressive progress in maternal and newborn care services.

“After only one year, the rate of children who receive skin-to-skin contact consistently for 90 minutes immediately after birth has increased from 59 percent in the first quarter of 2019 to 84 percent in second quarter of 2020; the rate of early breastfeeding after delivery and exclusive breastfeeding during their hospital stay is also high – respectively at 88 percent and 85 percent,” said Vinh.

The hospital’s achievements specifically ensure nutrition counselling for pregnant women and caregivers with small children; a friendly childbirth room with family members accompanying the mothers while in labour; early essential newborn care including immediate skin-to-skin contact for 90 minutes and early breastfeeding for healthy newborns; kangaroo mother care for premature, low-weight and sick babies; and safe, screened and lifesaving pasteurised human milk for newborns who cannot access their own mother’s milk.

The Quang Ninh Human Milk Bank is the third of its kind in the country and the first in Northern Vietnam.

“The Human Milk Bank was established to ensure that the babies who are unable to access breastmilk from their own mothers for any number of reasons can still reap the enormous benefits of breastmilk, including boosting their immune systems and protecting them from various ailments and diseases,” said Dr. Nguyen Quoc Hung, Director of the Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Paediatrics Hospital.

“I was consulted about my own nutrition and advised about how to breastfeed during one of my prenatal visits,” said Nguyen Ngoc Han, one of the first 18 human milk donors.

“I remember the moment when my child was first placed on my chest after birth, and was so excited to breastfeed for the first time.

"No formula can replace breastmilk. That is why I donated breast milk to the milk bank with the hope that more babies like mine will get the best nutrition and grow up healthy.”

Human milk donors are screened and counselled, and asked to make a long-term commitment to breast milk donation. Donated breast milk is tested, pasteurised and preserved according to strict procedures to ensure safety and quality.

The human milk bank is capable of providing pasteurised breast milk to 1,000 premature, underweight and sick babies in the hospital and another 20,000 vulnerable babies in the province.

The Centre of Excellence for Breastfeeding Initiative has been developed and implemented by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, provincial Departments of Health with support from Alive & Thrive and Irish Aid, encouraging health facilities to create and maintain breastfeeding-friendly environments by practising early essential newborn care and supporting breastfeeding./.