The Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign recently organised a panel discussion at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to introduce the campaign and its activities to representatives of a number of government departments and authorities as well as nurseries in the emirate of Sharjah.
The gathering aimed at encouraging these entities to join the campaign and get the official accreditation as a baby- and mother-friendly places.
Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Director of the Executive Committee of Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign, said that the campaign reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, to boost Sharjah’s cultural role not only as a capital of Arab and Islamic culture, but also as a capital of children’s rights and the culture of women’s empowerment, while ensuring an unwavering commitment to provide a healthy life to all members of the community.
She added: “Through these sessions and meetings, we seek to encourage more organisations and nurseries to join the campaign as part of the campaign’s strategic plan to target organisations in the central and eastern regions and to complete accreditation of the remaining organisations in the emirate of Sharjah. We intend, also, to highlight the importance of breastfeeding to child health and to explore possible ways to raise awareness on the vital importance of supporting breastfeeding in community for the health and welfare of the next generations.”
Eman Rashid, Deputy Director of the Executive Committee of Sharjah Baby-Friendly Emirate Campaign, presented the mother friendly workplace initiative launched by the campaign with the aim of providing appropriate facilities for working mothers to take care of their children at the workplace. She provided detailed clarification about the phases and requirements of accreditation, including adoption of mother friendly workplace policies and provision of a maternity room at the workplace. She presented examples of the accredited workplaces in Sharjah. Nurse Salam Hareb from Sharjah Mother and Child Care Centre delivered a lecture about returning to work in which she presented tips and guides to new mothers on how to achieve work-life balance. She clarified benefits of breastfeeding in giving the best possible start to children.
Reem Faris, Coordinator at the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign, delivered a presentation on the breastfeeding friendly nursery, including the requirements for nurseries seeking accreditation. These requirements include the adoption of a breastfeeding friendly nursery policy, provision of a designated room for nursing mothers, training female employees on how to enable mothers breastfeed their babies, and maintaining a supportive breastfeeding environment.
The panel discussion included a short film about the campaign and its positive results over the past two years. The campaign’s work team conducted more than 548 meetings and visits to several government and private bodies and facilities in Sharjah to familiarise them with the campaign’s objectives and benefits. The campaign has also conducted 40 training courses and educational workshops, along with basic training approved by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to 915 providers of maternity and child health care in government and private health facilities in Sharjah, equivalent to 95 per cent of the total maternity and child health care staff in public and private health facilities. Training and awareness sessions were, also, provided to 963 professionals at organisations and nurseries.
The Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign is based on the WHO and UNICEF International Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), launched in 1991, and promoted by the UAE Ministry of Health (Maternal and Child Health Central Administration) since 1993.
The campaign seeks to encourage public facilities and organisations under four categories: health facilities, workplaces, nurseries, and public places, to get SBFC accreditation by improving the care of mothers and newborns at facilities that provide maternity services for protecting, prompting, and supporting breastfeeding.