Dear Colleagues,

BFUSA would once again like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the thousands of dedicated healthcare workers caring for patients throughout the US during this difficult time. Thank you for all your hard work and the great care you are providing to mothers, babies and families. You represent the best of us.

We at BFUSA have been hard at work as well. It has been a while since our last communication and I thought this would be a good time to update you on what we’ve been doing over the past few months and what you can expect in the weeks and months ahead. Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, we have taken this opportunity to step back and make some important changes and improvements.

Plan to Release New GEC by July 1, 2021

When the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released revised implementation guidance for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in April 2018, we said the process of evaluating and customizing the guidance for the US would take about two years. While we have been actively working to prepare the US version of the revised BFHI materials, the release of the new GEC has been delayed by three factors out of our control:

First, we have been waiting for some additional guidance from the WHO regarding competency materials to support the implementation of the revised Step 2 (“Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy”). The WHO released these materials in August, and we are now in the process of integrating them into our new GEC document and other program materials.

Second, we know that the pandemic has taken its toll on your facilities, with maternity staff being transferred to COVID units and/or furloughed. We recognize you cannot shift your focus to revised guidelines at this time.

Finally, when COVID-19 struck, we at BFUSA needed to quickly shift our internal priorities to make the programmatic adaptations necessary to adjust to the pandemic. This has included developing a new approach for assessing facilities remotely (more on that below).

We now plan to release the new GEC with competency information fully incorporated by July 1, 2021.

New Hybrid Assessments – Part 1 Virtual to Begin this Month

The other major area of focus for BFUSA over the past few months has been to completely rework our assessment strategy to adapt to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. We are now planning to conduct the first part of the BFHI assessment (which includes the administrative/leadership interview, the purchasing agent interview, health care provider interviews, nursing staff interviews, and materials reviews) via virtual platforms for the foreseeable future. I am pleased to report that we successfully conducted our first two virtual assessments this week.

We are also currently developing plans for how to best implement the second part of the assessment (which will include mother interviews). We expect to have more information to share with you about this soon.

As always, we thank you for your support and we wish you good health.

Sincerely,

Trish MacEnroe
Chief Executive Officer, BFUSA