Successful implementation of baby-friendly Community Initiative in Bondeni Hospital
By Ruth Magak
Bondeni Sub-county Hospital (Maternity) has been feted as the best facility for implementing BFCI and supporting breastfeeding and optimal infant feeding in the community. The hospital team has received a recognition award for their exemplary work from the County’s Department of Health Services and the USAID Tujenge Jamii team led by the Chief of the Party, Dr Moses Kitheka.
Nakuru County has been implementing the Baby Friendly Community Initiative-BFCI within the populations to address poor breastfeeding practices in various community settings, urban and rural.
Bondeni Sub-county Hospital Team has adopted a multi-sectoral approach to ensure effective BFCI on complementary feeding practices of children aged 6–23 months, by combining interventions and effective support groups.
The facility Nutritionist led the team to help the community embrace the need to have kitchen gardens within the community as a contribution to the food gaps the households may have. The facility gets seeds for various crops from the Department of Agriculture and prepares them to cultivate seedlings that they give to the mothers’ support groups.
Such interventions have improved child feeding, especially dietary diversity and meal frequencies thus ensuring nutritional adequacy for children within the Bondeni community. No child has been admitted to the facility with acute malnutrition over the last six months.
The facility has been doing Continous Medical Education- CMEs and Nutritional Counselling sessions within community mother support groups and home visits by trained community health workers to promote optimal health and nutrition in children. Appropriate infant and young child nutrition are critical for proper growth and development.
County Nutrition Coordinator, Ms Christine Kihara said that the Department of Health has a clear roadmap within the County Nutrition Action Plan that defines the priority areas of investment and partnerships to achieve the Nutrition goal for the County.
She noted that the Department has invested in interventions geared towards improving maternal knowledge that consequently improves infant feeding, nutrition, and health status towards achieving the vision, of “A Healthy County”.