SEHA Hosts Breastfeeding Week at Select Healthcare Facilities in Line With the National Program
Abu Dhabi - November 05, 2020: Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the UAE’s largest public healthcare network, is hosting the annual national Breastfeeding Week at Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi, Madina Zayed Hospital, and Al Dhafra Hospital. Conducted from November 1 to 7, the annual Breastfeeding Week aims to promote the importance of breastfeeding with all three SEHA facilities being certified to support mothers during their breastfeeding journeys and cater to care for the requirements of mothers and babies.
Breastfeeding is a natural and important part of motherhood, and early infancy. Studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) into the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers have shown that for every year a woman breastfed, her chances of contracting breast cancer decreased by 4.3 percent. The risk of contracting ovarian cancer also dropped by a third for women who breastfed, in addition to a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Postpartum breastfeeding is an excellent way of helping a mother return to her pre-baby body, as it acts as a healthy and natural method of weight loss.
In the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was misinformation about breastfeeding being a mode of transmitting the virus from mothers to their children. Corniche Hospital conducted research into the claim and studied 73 infants born to women who had tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancies. Over a period of 76 days, practitioners evaluated the rate of transmission of the virus from mother to infant during their hospital stay and period of breastfeeding. Most babies born to COVID-19 positive mothers tested negative for the virus, and the few that tested positive did not develop any symptoms or adverse effects from the virus. Results of the study published in the prestigious British Medical Journal Paediatrics concluded that breastfeeding posed a minimal clinical risk to the infant, and can be practiced safely with adequate infection control measures.
Linda Clark, Chief Executive Officer, Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi said, “At Corniche Hospital, we fully implement the recommendations of WHO, encouraging mothers to start breastfeeding their babies within the first hour of birth and continue exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, followed by continuing breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years and beyond.”
“We have a dedicated lactation consultant team who are highly trained with advanced technologies and tools to maintain the highest standards of care and support for mothers who face challenges during their breastfeeding journey. We are proud to say that over 90% of mothers who delivered at Corniche Hospital in 2019 were exclusively breastfeeding their babies at the time of being discharged,” she continued.
For babies, breast milk offers the best nutritional option for development and growth, containing the mother’s immunity-boosting antibodies and optimum levels of nutrients required by the body. Research also supports breast milk, showing that children who were breastfed as infants were more likely to grow up with a healthy weight, and develop sharp cognitive abilities later in life.
For both mother and baby, breastfeeding provides an extraordinary bonding experience, is readily available, and requires no additional tools or sterilization – always at the right temperature, free from any germs, and environmentally sustainable.
Throughout the pandemic, the percentage of breastfeeding mothers in the UAE remained consistent in comparison to figures from previous years. To continue empowering women and children during the period of breastfeeding, SEHA has implemented guidelines for mothers who have tested positive for COVID-19 which are as follows:
• Wearing a mask during feeding,
• Washing hands with soap and water before and after touching the baby,
• Wiping and disinfecting surfaces regularly with disinfecting solution,
• Keeping the baby cot with a two-metre distance from the mother’s bed.
Corniche Hospital is a well-established and trusted maternity and newborn hospital in Abu Dhabi. It is recognized by the WHO and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as a Mother-Baby-Friendly Hospital since 2008, and strongly advocates breastfeeding as one of the most effective ways to protect child health.
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