15 September 2022

I’m so proud of Mandeville Regional Hospital becoming Baby-Friendly!

The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is an international accreditation certifying hospitals with the necessary practices and standards to support breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding gives babies the best, healthiest possible start in life and is recommended exclusively for the first six months of life. Unfortunately, in Jamaica, the…, Teamwork made the dream work, First, cooperation is key. Without unity of purpose, it is impossible to achieve and maintain BFHI certification. Keeping us all together and on task was our remarkable BFHI coordinator. We had unwavering support from our Regional Health Authority (SRHA), the hospital administration and the hospital board. Next, we had the department of nursing,…, Shared mission to protect the health of baby and mom, As a team, we believe that breastfeeding advocacy is perhaps the single intervention with the greatest potential to improve the health of our nation. Breastfeeding positively impacts the health of four generations. It impacts the newborn at the time of birth by reducing gastrointestinal illness, cot death, childhood obesity and the benefits that…, How we trained 800 staff members, Even though the team was focused and united, we still had some technical issues. We struggled to train our massive workforce. With 800 employees including doctors, nurses, paramedics, auxiliary and administration, and a rapid turnover of staff members, getting across the finishing line of having trained 80 per cent of our staff seemed impossible.…, More than just a certificate, Finally, hospitals must remember that BFHI is more than a certificate. It is a commitment to excellent patient care. In 2018, we opened an infant nutrition and education room which we call ‘Breastfeeding Training Room’. It’s a beautiful space with a tranquil atmosphere. Here we teach mothers some rudiments of breastfeeding and how to safely…, What’s UNICEF doing?, The UNICEF-World Health Organisation Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative prepares health systems and mobilises healthcare workers to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in accordance with evidence-based standards.   Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life has been identified as the foundation for achieving optimal health and…
29 August 2022

How front-of-package warning labels can protect our health

[SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO] Have you heard about front-of-package warning labels (FOPWL) for foods high in sugar, salt and fats? These are foods that can cause non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are responsible for 78 per cent of deaths in Jamaica. Sadly, 36 per cent of Jamaican children between 13 and 15 are overweight or obese, estimates…, Best-performing way to help Jamaican consumers, That’s why UNICEF and other partners continue to support The Heart Foundation of Jamaica in lobbying to ensure that octagonal front-of-package warning labels are introduced . According to a 2021 study conducted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the University of Technology (UTech) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), these…, Why do you think we need FOPWL in Jamaica?, Rosanna: We need front-of-package warning labels in Jamaica as a measure to help reduce the prevalence of NCDs as well as obesity, and especially as it regards to safeguarding our children’s health. So at least we can do it for them, to protect the future of Jamaica. Essentially, as consumers, we need an easier way to identify foods that might…, What do you think is needed to move Jamaica forward? , Rosanna: Moving forward, I think that we need a more comprehensive approach. We definitely need to identify more champions going forward. We need like a multifaceted approach to get more persons on board and amplify our messages and our cause and to say, “Hey, we are not doing this just for ourselves, but for the health of our nation!” Shannique:…, Your message for Jamaican youth?, Rosanna: I implore all Jamaican youth to support our advocacy initiatives for the FOPWL. If you’re interested, get on board. Reach out to UNICEF Jamaica, Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Healthy Caribbean Coalition or JYAN. Any representative from any of these organizations would be more than willing to hear your concerns and what you are passionate…, What's UNICEF doing?, UNICEF Jamaica supports The Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s  “Protect Our Children’s Health” mass media campaign and other activities to raise awareness about the health harms of foods high in salt, fat and sugar and the importance of implementing octagonal warning labels to create a food policy environment that supports healthy nutrition and…
24 February 2022

How to make each taxpayer dollar count more for children

For anybody reading this who is a Jamaican taxpayer, your main concern might be how public funds are spent, and perhaps like UNICEF, you might also care about how they can best achieve positive results for children? In which case you might be happy to hear about something called Results-Based Budgeting (RBB), where ministries allocate resources on…, Training for champion healthcare, Howard: At the MOHW we take a whole life cycle approach and achieving the SDGs is a benefit to the Jamaican people. For instance, if we address child infant mortality, then more children survive – and so our planning must put in place the right interventions to do so. So, the SDGs might sound aspirational in some ways, but they have real life…, Helping children move up through the grades, Viviene: For us in education, RBB is critical for accountability. As planners if someone needs to understand how we arrived at an outcome we can reference the strategic plan and indicators which measure performance. Measurement and evaluation is part of our planning process. At each level you want children to move seamlessly through the system. We…, Raising performance for the future, Howard: MOHW is wanting to become more performance-based and the knowledge gained from the training, such as modelling a theory of change, will help us to do that and strengthen our measurement and evaluation too. Viviene: For viability of a country, a community, a home, the individual himself or herself must focus on preparing the youth, get…, UN and EU optimistic of improved budgeting, Dr. Garry Conille, United Nations Resident Coordinator:  The UN is proud to be supporting the people and Government of Jamaica to improve efficiency, effectiveness and equity in public expenditure and in so doing accelerating the achievement of the SDGs. We are grateful for the financial contribution of the Joint SDG Fund whose donors include: The…
25 September 2019

Survive and thrive

Challenge, Jamaica has achieved notable progress on key survival indicators. The majority of Jamaican children are born in facilities with skilled birth attendants. There have been significant improvements in the under-five mortality rate, and the low rate of mother to child transmission of HIV has been sustained across a number of years. Additionally,…, Resources, Solutions, Our Survive and thrive programme is designed to ensure that children benefit from expanded opportunities for good health and wellbeing from the very start in life through the period of adolescence. The programme aims to : 1.    Enhance children’s access to integrated quality health and nutrition services that promote good nutrition practices,…, To achieve these goals, we work with various partners on different strategies such as:, Photograph of a baby in hands Facilitate a healthy start in life: Promote a healthy start in life by advocating for improvements in the policy/legal environment and providing access to integrated quality health and nutrition services that promote good nutrition practices, breastfeeding, complementary feeding and physical activity.    On My Mind:…, Partners, Caribbean Child Development Centre, UWI Open Campus Partner Type: Non-government The CCDC provides support for holistic development for Caribbean children through research, training, information management and dissemination, public service and promotion of the best possible outcomes for children. Eve for Life Partner Type: Non-government Eve for…
12 June 2019

How U-Report helped the Ministry of Health respond to dengue

If someone had asked me six months ago about the fastest way to reach young people in Jamaica, I would probably have said Instagram. If you asked me today, I would likely say U-Report  (provided by UNICEF) , albeit with the caveat that it depends on your needs. As we pulled together our communication strategy and action plan for dengue at the…, U-Report poll and follow-up bot, message word mosquito A poll conducted with the U-Report  gave us that access. As a result, we were able to roll out a strategy and plan that made sense to an important audience we needed to reach, in the public health interest. U-Report subsequently created a messaging bot that allowed us to relay information on dengue, also via that platform, to…, Helped close communication gap, That helped us to close the communication loop. In short, we asked youth what they needed to know about dengue, they told us and then we gave it to them. I am grateful for the collaboration with U-Report and would encourage young people who are not yet a part of that community to join. As  for those interested in hearing from youth , you may want…, How to join U-Report, U-Report polls are sent via messaging to Jamaicans aged 13-29, who opt-in anonymously to become U-Reporters to share their views on issues that matter to them. Currently there are more than 6,800 U-Reporters in Jamaica. Messaging is conducted free of charge for partners, but must first be approved by the Youth Council who ensure that they are…