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UNICEF launches Romania’s first loyalty card to fund mother and child wards in maternity hospitals

The bond between mother and child gets stronger with every touch, smile and whenever the baby is nursed. A newborn who is exclusively breastfed will grow into a healthy child, enjoying extensive immunity to infectious and chronic diseases. Breastefeeding plays an important role for the mother too, protecting her against breast cancer and helping her better recover after pregnancy and labour.

Unfortunately, in some maternity hospitals in Romania, the mother is separated from her baby right after childbirth, severing the connection between the two for several hours or even days. To help keep mothers and newborns together for that vital early period, UniCredit Ţiriac Bank has joined forces with UNICEF to come up with a special loyalty card that allows anybody to lend their support to the cause at no further cost. The aim of the loyalty programme is to fund the rooming-in system in Romania’s maternity hospitals: to set up mother & child rooms where mothers can be accommodated with their newborns 24/7.

“The UNICEF-UniCredit Ţiriac Bank card is a first for the Romanian market and for us. With the money it will raise, UNICEF Romania will provide support for the development of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Children born in these maternity wards will have the best start in life, will grow healthier, smarter and better adjusted. Mothers will be happier and the public health system will spend less on care. UNICEF’s goal is that all maternity wards in Romania adopt child-friendly practices in the long-term,” said Romania UNICEF Representative Edmond McLoughney.

The UNICEF-UniCredit Ţiriac Bank shopping card was devised for everyone who wishes to support UNICEF’s initiative to set in place mother and child wards in Romanian maternity hospitals. UniCredit Ţiriac Bank donates 1 percent of the value of each transaction carried out using the UNICEF loyalty card at point of sale terminals, at no cost to the cardholder. Additionally, the bank will transfer to UNICEF 50 percent of the yearly tax applicable to UNICEF products. The UNICEF loyalty card, which uses a MasterCard platform, is available as both credit and debit card. Both products allow the holder to use internet banking and to find out their balance at ATMs. The cards can be used in Romania and abroad. Holders will know the precise amount donated by UniCredit Ţiriac Bank to UNICEF on their behalf, as they will be informed on a monthly basis about the progress of the donations. Consequently, they have the reassurance that the money will go to support mothers and their newborns.

Andreea Marin Bănică, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Romania, greeted the launch of the first UNICEF loyalty card in the country: “Kind and altruistic gestures must be admired all the more when people are going through a tough period, which tests us all. A routine gesture such as paying for your shopping with a card could change the life of a child for the better and support its healthy development.”

When the maternity hospitals are equipped and furnished and the healthcare staff trained, they will become part of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and can become breastfeeding promotion centres.

Currently in Romania, out of 204 maternity hospitals, 35 are active members of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, and 23 have already acquired full status. Over one third of children in Romania are born in these hospitals. For a maternity department to qualify as a Child-friendly Hospital, it must fulfil 10 requirements (10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding), which are the international standards applicable to mother and newborn care; they have nothing to do with any special conditions of the accommodation and do not involve major expense as they are only care-related rules.



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