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Health Visiting Service retains UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation

Published Thursday, 28th November 2019

Members of the Health Visiting Team

The Health Visiting Service at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is delighted to have been re-accredited as “Baby Friendly”, following an assessment.

The certification is given following an assessment by a team from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and is a marker for organisations who are showing best practice standards are in place for mother and baby care. Introduced to the UK in 1994, the accreditation programme is now recognised and recommended in numerous government and policy documents across all four UK nations, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance. The maternity unit at Southend Hospital were also recently re-accredited, showing that public maternity services across Southend adhere to the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI).

The BFI is part of a wider global partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. It enables public services to better support families with feeding and developing close, loving relationships; ensuring that all babies get the best possible start in life.

Following the re-accreditation, Erin Brennan-Douglas, Senior Public Health Principal, said: “Having confirmation that we are still following best practice by retaining the BFI shows the hard work and dedication of the Health Visiting Service team. Thank you to all staff and parents who were involved during the assessment”.

Gillian O’Connor, Infant Feeding Lead and Breastfeeding Co-ordinator said: “I am delighted that the Health Visiting team has been recognised as achieving a high standard of care for breastfeeding women. Many women report they would have continued if support have been offered and this award will provide a solid foundation to support women in their feeding choices”.

The assessment will be conducted again in 2021, helping ensure that the Health Visiting Service consistently maintains high standards of care for mothers and their babies.