establishment of breastfeeding support groups
and refer mothers to them on discharge from
the hospital or clinic.'
The Baby Friendly
Hospital Initiative based on these
'Ten steps' was launched in 1992. An assessment
system has been developed to inspect maternity
homes on the basis of these ten steps. The maternity
homes passing the assessment are granted '
BABY FRIENDLY HOSPITAL
Many maternity homes in India have already acquired
this certificate. To the best of our knowledge
the tenth step of mother support was always
neglected in India & BFHI certifications
were done without fulfillment of this step.
Hence we felt that many of the certified maternity
homes could not maintain their baby friendly
status. In the absence of a system to reassess
the certified maternity homes, the tenth step
should be made compulsory prior to certification.
We realized that neglect of this step arose
out of difficulties in starting MSG in India.
We also realised the importance of tenth step
to achieve & maintain BFHI status of maternity
homes. It was on this background that Breastfeeding
Promotion Network of India (BPNI) Maharashtra
State Branch' in collaboration with 'Association
for Consumer Action on Safety & Health(ACASH)'
& with support from UNICEF (Mumbai Office)
initiated 'Mother Support Group Project' in
1995. The project was started in North-West
Mumbai with 1 MSG Leaders & 1 maternity
home. It was planned to start maternity home
based MSG with subsequent extension in the community.
The project now has 30 certified mother support
group leaders & provides service to 33 maternity
homes in & around North-West Mumbai. Apart
from covering maternity homes MSG Leaders carry
out a spectrum of activities in the surrounding
community for protection, promotion & support
of breastfeeding. Satellite MSG activity has
started in Amravati. The process has been initiated
in Pune & Dombivali.