What does Participation (or Membership) and Certificate of Commitment mean?
The initiative is about the progress towards supportive practices as much as the achievement of awards. Hospitals/units start by carrying out a self-appraisal of their practices using the checklist provided. This checklist is returned to the BFHI co-ordinator with an outline of any action points needed to raise standards. At this point hospitals/units are designated as a Participant (or Member) of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative or of the Breastfeeding Supportive Paediatric Project.
The hospital/unit is then assessed according to the globally established criteria, either informally as part of assistance in developing plans to improve standards or an official external assessment for the Baby Friendly Award. If a hospital/unit meets the Global Criteria fully and has a high breastfeeding rate it can be awarded Baby Friendly Status.
However, if it is unable to meet the global criteria fully at this time, a Certificate of Commitment is awarded and the hospital/unit is considered Committed to Baby-Friendly. Certificate of Commitment is not currently used in Ireland though it was in the past.Hospitals/units are required to provide yearly evaluation and audit reports, plan of action for continued improvement and can receive spot checks. There is a National Level Award for hospitals/units who reach the high standards of the Global Criteria but do not yet reach the breastfeeding rate (75%) required of the international standard.
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