Randa Saadeh and Carmen Casanovas
Food Nutr Bull. 2009 Jun;30(2 Suppl):S225-9.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) was launched in the 1990s by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF as a global effort with hospitals, health services, and parents to ensure babies are breastfed for the best start in life. It is one of the Operational Targets of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding endorsed in 2002 by the Fifty-Fifth World Health Assembly and the UNICEF Executive Board.
After about 18 years, great progress has been made, and most countries have breastfeeding authorities or BFHI coordinating groups. The BFHI has led to increased rates of exclusive breastfeeding, which are reflected in improved health and survival. Based on this progress, the Initiative was streamlined according to the experience of the countries and materials were revised. The new package consolidated all WHO and UNICEF materials into one package, reflected new research and experience, revisited the criteria used for the BFHI in light of HIV/AIDS, reinforced the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, provided modules for motherfriendly care, and gave more guidance for monitoring and reassessment. WHO and partners will continue to give support to BFHI implementation as one essential effort contributing to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.