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Timişoara County Emergency Clinical Hospital, UniCredit Țiriac Bank and UNICEF announce Bega Maternity’s re-accreditation as Baby-Friendly Hospital

Timișoara, 24 May 2012 – UNICEF Romania and Timişoara County Emergency Clinical Hospital are proud to announce that Bega Maternity has been re-accredited as a Baby-Friendly Hospital. This was made possible with the financial support of UniCredit Țiriac Bank.

National research studies conducted from 1991 to 2010 have evidenced the adverse effects of stopping breastfeeding too early, of low exclusive breastfeeding rates, of improper introduction of cow’s milk and of complementary feeding at inappropriate times and with inadequate foods. Lack of parents’ training on and support to home-based child care practices, alongside the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes hamper the promotion of adequate child nutrition and healthy development. In this context, UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991 in a joint effort to ensure that all maternities become centres of breastfeeding support.

To be designated baby-friendly a maternity needs to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which are meant to support, promote and protect breastfeeding. The Ten Steps are a set of international mother and baby care standards and they have nothing to do with a hotel-like setting or high costs – they are just care provision rules.

The Bega Maternity signed up for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative back in 1995 and it was granted baby-friendly status. Unfortunately, a number of drawbacks, such as insufficient financial and human resources, made it difficult to maintain the required standards. With financial support from UniCredit Ţiriac Bank, the Bega Maternity managed to implement all the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the other practical standards in order to be re-accredited as a Baby-Friendly Hospital.

”Our bank has a very strong social responsibility tradition and we believe that it is essential for us to actively engage in the communities where we do business. We are honoured to be in a partnership with UNICEF, helping us to achieve this once more. We encourage our customers to use the UNICEF affinity card. This means not only that their money is in good hands, but that they also contribute to a social project with a huge added value through donations the bank makes of its own resources for every transaction”, declared Anca Nuţă, Identity and Communication Director at UniCredit Țiriac Bank.

At the end of 2010, the Bank launched the first UNICEF affinity card in Romania. The UniCredit Țiriac Bank product targets all those who, when using the card to pay vendors, want to support the UNICEF initiative aimed at creating a rooming-in system in Romanian maternity facilities. From its own earnings, UniCredit Ţiriac Bank donates to UNICEF 1% of the value of each UNICEF affinity card payment to vendors. In addition, the bank also transfers to UNICEF 50% of the UNICEF product package annual fee.

“We are glad to support the maternity facility at Timișoara County Emergency Hospital in its effort to reach WHO and UNICEF international standards required to be designated baby-friendly. It has been a long-term successful endeavour that has brought about benefits both to mothers and babies and to the entire staff working here. I would like to thank UniCredit Ţiriac Bank for the constant support given to UNICEF for making Romanian maternities truly baby-friendly, and the bank’s customers who support breastfeeding promotion by using the UNICEF affinity card”, declared Edmond McLoughney, UNICEF Representative in Romania.

“We are proud that our efforts have been successful and that today we can give the best start in life to the youngest citizens of Timișoara. The Bega Maternity is an example of community involvement. We thank UniCredit Țiriac Bank for their financial support and UNICEF for their technical assistance. Mothers’ desire to stay with and breastfeed their babies has inspired and encouraged us in our actions”, said Senior Lecturer Constantin Ilie, PhD, Head of Neonatal Clinic at the Bega Maternity.

Actions implemented at the Bega Maternity with financial support from UniCredit Țiriac Bank:

  • Continuous training of trainers and of the entire staff for informing, educating and supporting mothers to start breastfeeding as early and to exclusively breastfeed their babies. 
  • Improving rooming-in conditions: the Bega Maternity has been included in the maternity hospital rehabilitation programme of the Ministry of Health and infrastructure refurbishment works have started. Besides rehabilitation, rooming-in wards have been equipped with innovative furniture, especially designed for Baby-Friendly Hospitals, with unique functionality and looks.
  • Educating pregnant and postpartum women on child nutrition and care: a TV network was set up in the wards and video materials were offered. For the mothers’ ongoing support, The Young Mother’s Guide was duplicated and distributed. Moreover, the staff taught the mothers how to take care of their baby.

Results:

  • Romania now has another hospital where babies can be with their mothers immediately after they are born.
  • Breastfeeding is promoted and encouraged, giving children the best start in life.
  • The staff has acquired additional skills and information to support mothers in feeding and caring for their babies.
  • The new furniture provides more comfort to mothers and children, and a more comfortable working environment for the staff. 
  • The entire maternity team has benefited from training courses.
  • All mothers who have given birth in the maternity facility since the onset of the project have received educational materials.
Currently, in Romania, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative includes 45 maternities, 31 of which have been designated baby-friendly. More than one third of Romanian children are born in these 45 maternities. At the Bega Maternity, 2,500 babies are born each year.

For more information about the Baby-Friendly Hospital status, breastfeeding benefits, and how you can support babies by using the UNICEF-UniCredit Ţiriac Bank affinity card, please go to the website www.spitalprieten.ro.

About UniCredit Tiriac Bank

UniCredit Tiriac Bank is part of UniCredit Group, the leading European bank with the widest network in Eastern and Central Europe, counting more than 3,900 subsidiaries. In Romania, UniCredit Ţiriac Bank is one of the leading financial institutions, providing top-quality services and products to all types of customers.

The Bank is committed to always keeping the customer central to everything it does, to being an easy-to-work-with partner and to actively engaging in the communities where it works.

UniCredit Group operates on the Romania market also through its partners: UniCredit Leasing Corporation, UniCredit CA-IB Securities Romania, UniCredit CAIB Romania, UniCredit Insurance Broker, Pioneer Asset Management, UniCredit Consumer Financing (UCFin) and UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions (UBIS).

About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in Romania and over 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. 

In Romania, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality education, and the protection of children from violence, neglect, and HIV/AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

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