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For Immediate Release
Contact: Carol Daugherty
September 16, 2013
DC Breastfeeding Coalition Selects Maternity Facilities for its Creating a Baby-Friendly District of Columbia Initiative
Today, the DC Breastfeeding Coalition is pleased to announce the selection of three maternity facilities - Community of Hope at Family Health and Birth Center, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and United Medical Center - in the District of Columbia to participate in the Creating a Baby-Friendly District of Columbia Initiative. With a recently awarded grant from the DC Department of Health's Community Transformation Grant program, the DC Breastfeeding Coalition (DCBFC) will prepare the three facilities to be Baby-Friendly.
Through this important initiative, DCBFC will guide the process for the selected hospitals to become Baby-Friendly designated maternity facilities. Becoming a Baby-Friendly facility is a comprehensive, detailed evaluation process that requires institutional commitment to implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
"The DC Breastfeeding Coalition's primary goal for this project is to assist the selected maternity facilities to navigate the Baby-Friendly designation process," notes Dr. Sahira Long, President of the Coalition. "By 2016, we hope to see the fruit of our labor to transform the communities with the greatest need through increased breastfeeding and to see at least six of the eight maternity facilities in DC designated as Baby-Friendly."
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a global program, launched by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund, to encourage and recognize hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding and mother/baby bonding. To date, approximately 20,000 maternity and infant care facilities located in 156 countries are designated as Baby-Friendly. There is overwhelming evidence to support the health benefits of Baby-Friendly designation in improving breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity rates. With the three health facilities selected for this initiative, all of the District's maternity facilities that deliver Medicaid births will be working toward Baby-Friendly Designation.
The DC Breastfeeding Coalition was established in 2004, to increase the breastfeeding rates of all infants living in the District of Columbia. Working in partnership with maternal and child health professionals, community health organizations, and mother-to-mother support groups, the DC Breastfeeding Coalition seeks to promote, protect and support culturally-sensitive programs and activities that build awareness and understanding of the preventive health benefits of breastfeeding. Through its breastfeeding research, advocacy and educational activities, the Coalition seeks to reduce health disparities - particularly among the most vulnerable infants and children living in our communities.