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Aug 7, 2019

Cleopatra White Polyclinic Certified Mother-Baby Friendly Facility

An initiative to promote breastfeeding took place today as part of activities to celebrate Breastfeeding Week. The Cleopatra White Polyclinic in Belize City was designated as a mother/baby friendly facility. It is known that the approach of feeding the baby with the mother’s milk has many benefits for both the mother and the infant as it offers protection against a number of diseases that can affect the newborn. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The Cleopatra White Polyclinic was today officially declared to be a mother-baby friendly polyclinic after achieving the seven steps in successful breastfeeding. The mother baby-friendly hospital initiative is a global programme sponsored by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The purpose, according to the Ministry of Health, is to encourage and recognize hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding.  Health Minister Pablo Marin says that Cleopatra White Polyclinic joins the majority of health facilities in the country which have been certified as mother-baby friendly. Every two years, the certification process is undertaken to ensure that the standards and operating procedures are kept up to date.


Pablo Marin

Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“It is an international agency; UNICEF comes here and do what they need to do, all the protocols available and they need to do breastfeeding exclusively. All of our facilities you will see in the walkways all that has to do with breastfeeding. That is one part of it.   What we are trying to see the private hospital to do the breastfeeding because as you heard it is very essential for the child for us to do the first two years of breastfeeding, or the first six months of breastfeeding. So that is our priority right now.”


According to Minister Marin, breastfed infants have a decreased risk of diarrhea, respiratory, ear infections, and allergic skin disorders among other health complications. Mother baby-friendly certified clinics provide crucial information to breastfeeding mothers. Suzannie Vellos was taught the necessary skills needed to successfully begin and continue breastfeeding her child.


Suzannie Vellos

Suzannie Vellos, Breastfeeding Mother

“I only got the opportunity this one time when I came to the clinic because like most mothers I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. My breast hurt, everything hurt. It seemed like an impossible task but I came to the clinic and I got the training, the guidance and the support from everyone. It was something that I accomplished. It is a beautiful experience, the bonding with your child. You get to see how the affection they have towards you, how connected they get to you compared to when you bottle feed. You get closer to your child.”


The ministry is encouraging private health institutions to jump on board. Marin says that the conversation with these institutions has commenced.


Pablo Marin

“The Management and staff of the Ministry of Health will always come and look at the guidelines and to continue to be re-certified.  The main thing right now for us is to pass legislation that for us to be able to enter into the facilities, for us to have a better approach with them and an open approach with all private hospital. So that should be coming into place soon.  The proposed legislation is already at the Sol Gen officer. We should be taking it at the next house meeting if it is possible. It is more for us to be able to look at what we are doing. At the moment whenever we want to go to a private facility, we have to ask them permission. I think that shouldn’t be. If we are being so extent in how we do our clinics in our public sector we should be doing the same thing in the private. So that is coming soon.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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