North Hawaii Community Hospital Receives Prestigious National Award
Posted on Friday, July 24, 2015

North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH), an affiliate of The Queen’s Health Systems, has received a prestigious international recognition as a Baby-Friendly designated birth facility by Baby-Friendly USA, Inc.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund.  The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.  Based on the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding,” this prestigious international award recognizes birth facilities that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence, and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.  NHCH is the second hospital in the State and the only neighbor island hospital to receive this designation.

"It has been an honor and privilege to help improve the lives of our families and community through the Baby-Friendly process,” said Kehau Kealoha, RNC, IBCLC, Baby-Friendly Coordinator at NHCH.  “Following evidence-based guidelines has helped us to care for our patients in a manner that empowers our families for the best possible start in life.  The opportunity and hope lies in the new beginning as a family. Healthy families result in healthy communities.”

While there are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendlyhospitals and birth centers worldwide, currently there are only 273 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the United States.  The “Baby-Friendly” designation is given after a rigorous on-site survey is completed.  The award is maintained by continuing to practice the Ten Steps as demonstrated by quality processes.  “This designation signifies the commitment by the caregivers at NHCH and The Queen’s Health Systems to bring the best of evidence based medicine to all the people of Hawaii,” said Art Ushijima, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Queen’s Health Systems.

The World Health Organization states, "globally, only 38% of infants are exclusively breastfed. Suboptimal breastfeeding contributes to 800,000 infant deaths.”  The goal by 2025 is to “increase to at least 50% the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months.”

For more information about Baby-Friendly designated birth facilities, visit www.babyfriendlyusa.org.