Malawi's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative: Scaling Up and Institutionalizing the BFHI to Promote Child Development
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
15:00 CAT (Malawi); 09:00 EDT (Washington, DC)
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global effort to give every baby the best start in life by creating an enabling environment that supports breastfeeding as the norm and promotes exclusive breastfeeding for six months. In 2018, the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project began providing technical support to Malawi’s Ministry of Health to strengthen its BFHI program. Together, the ministry and HP+ adapted the program to institute ongoing training for healthcare providers and train community members to support breastfeeding mothers.
Using a whole-site approach and providing ongoing mentorship and coaching, the project trained facility staff and community promoters from surrounding areas to ensure a referral system and strong enabling environment was in place. All 12 sites that HP+ trained over the two years of implementation passed their external assessments and were accredited by the Ministry of Health as baby friendly. Through HP+ technical support, the government of Malawi now has the tools and governance structures in place to institutionalize the adapted approach so it can be sustained going forward.
Florence Bwanali, HP+ Technical Advisor for the BFHI, and Janet Guta, Deputy Director for Nutrition in Malawi’s Ministry of Health, will share results and lessons learned from the program.