Sixth meeting of BFHI coordinators in industrialized countries

Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS)

October 12-14, 2010 Ospedali degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy

A three days meeting was held in Florence, Italy at the Ospedale degli Innocenti from 12-14 October 2010. UNICEF Committee for Italy has kindly assisted in the organization of and hosted the meeting.

It was to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of establishment of BFHI. This meeting is being held every two years for BFHI Coordinators and BFHI committee members in Industrialized countries. About 90 participants joined the meeting representing 36 industrialized countries.

Partners as Wellstart, IBFAN and ILCA also participated.

The meeting was seen as direct response to the recent World Health Assembly Resolution (63rd WHA) on Infant and Young Child Feeding calling to scale-up nutrition actions and renewed efforts to support and scale-out the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative.

Objectives of the meeting were:
  • To provide mutual support between the coordinators of the BFHI in industrialized countries;
  • To stimulate wider adoption and expansion of the Baby-friendly best practice standards throughout industrialized countries;
  • To support the implementation of related international recommendations and protocols such as the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, Innocenti Declarations (1990 and 2005) and the EU Blueprint for Action;
  • To share updates on recent scientific evidence and research findings on IYCF and BFHI;
  • To share experiences and good practices related to BFHI and its expansion Expected outcome.

Expected outcomes

  • To present up-to-date information on BFHI implementation in industrialized countries;
  • To provide increased support to BFHI and the work of the BFHI coordinators;
  • To reach agreement on common stand to address constraints to BFHI implementation in industrialized countries;
  • To reach agreement on the way forward.

The last meeting of this Network was held in Geneva at WHO/HQ premises in 2008. These biannual meetings are seen as an important forum for the BFHI Coordinators in Industrialized countries to exchange information, share their experiences and be introduced to scientific updates and research results affecting the BFHI process and its implementation.

Prior to the meeting a "Questionnaire on BFHI status" was sent to all Coordinators for collecting information on their respective country situation on implementation of BFHI and its progress. This information was consolidated and presented in a report and shared with participants at the meeting and will be part of the meeting report.

Nine working groups were held over the three days discussing issues:

  • BFHI Assessment tools
  • BFHI innovative approaches
  • BFHI expansion

Recommendations were made by the groups on various issues related to the above three working group themes.

The meeting participants made strong recommendations for:

  • WHO to continue giving support needed for the BFHI coordinators
  • WHO NHD to duplicate this fruitful effort of having a meeting for BFHI coordinators in other Regions
  • WHO NHD to continue providing technical support to countries for full implementation of BFHI, the new materials and package, courses, assessment and reassessment and monitoring with special focus on those countries starting to implement the Initiative as for example in Greece, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei.
  • WHO NHD to provide technical support to countries for expansion of BFHI as requested by WHA
  • WHO NHD to assist in the planning and holding of the next BFHI meeting in Oslo, Norway (they have offered to host) in June 2012 (TBC)