On August 4, in a ceremony to celebrate International Breastfeeding Week the Minister of Public Health, Dr Suraya Dalil commended and presented an award to World Vision Afghanistan and five other organizations for demonstrated excellence in supporting the country’s efforts to reduce infant mortality through the Baby – Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI).
With one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, Afghanistan faces a daunting but not impossible task to improve the well - being of children. During her speech, Dr. Suraya Dalil said “ Breastfeeding a new born baby could help in decreasing the infant mortality rate by 22 percent, and there is an urgent need for creating awareness regarding the importance of breastfeeding among the people”.
World Vision started the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in 2009 which is a component of Better Health for Afghan Mother and Child (BHAMC) project funded by USAID as part of our focus on Child Survival and Health. Thirteen doctors and midwives from Herat Province learned skills in a Trainer of Trainers event, and then disseminated the BFHI training to 75 staff in different district hospitals in Herat Province and the Provincial Maternity Hospital.
World Vision staff also supervise personnel in the Herat Maternity Hospital to ensure BFHI activities are taking place while providing regular training and follow up. With new knowledge and skills, and coupled with additional equipment and supplies, staff are better equipped to help children reach for life in all its fullness.