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Baby-Friendly Hospital Award Ceremony

© UNICEF DPRK/2009/Nilgun Sahin
Dr.Festo Kavishe presents Baby Friendly Hospital plaque to director of Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.

By Nilgun Sahin

Pyongyang, 5 February 2009- Dr. Festo Kavishe, the Deputy Director of UNICEF Regional Office in Thailand presented plaques of Baby Friendly Hospital to Pyongyang Maternity Hospital and North Pyongan Provincial Maternity Hospital at the award ceremony.
The Baby- Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched by UNICEF and WHO in 1991, is an accreditation process that requires a hospital to reach specific standards related to the 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding.  Research has shown that neonatal mortality is reduced by 22 per cent when children are breastfed within an hour of birth.

In DPR of Korea, Pyongyang Maternity Hospital and North Pyongan Provincial Maternity hospitals were certified as being Baby Friendly hospitals in 1996 under assessment of UNICEF. “In response to the interest and strong request for updating the BFHI package, UNICEF in close coordination with Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and WHO, has formulated the BFHI committee and Baby Friendly policy for the first time in DPRK,” said Mr.Gopalan Balagopal Representative of UNICEF in DPR Korea.


Ministry of Public Health conducted the re-assessment of these already certified two hospitals and South Pyongan Provincial Maternity hospital which was a new candidate for BFHI in close collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in November, 2008. The results showed that Pyongyang and North Pyongan Provincial Maternity hospitals practiced all of the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding and sustained the global criteria to remain ‘Baby Friendly Hospital’. The third hospital will be certified after the improvement of general environment of the hospital for availability of water and sanitation facilities.

In 2008, UNICEF in collaboration with BFHI committee successfully conducted ‘Breastfeeding Counseling Course’ and ‘Assessor’s Training on BFHI’.

“In the course of undertaking the campaign of becoming baby friendly hospital, we truly experienced that breastfeeding would reduce the child death and morbidity of infective diseases thus actively contributing to promoting children’s health,” said Mrs. Kim Song Hui, Director of Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.

In her speech, the director of Pyongyang Maternity Hospital gave the news of establishing a health network comprising of not only health workers, including section doctors, but also nursery and community-based workers to help mothers continue to breastfeed their babies after their discharge from the hospital. By the end of 2009, the number of Baby Friendly Hospitals in DPR Korea will be seven.

The award ceremony continued with role plays on importance of breastfeeding by Pyongyang Maternity Hospital Health Education Team.



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