Updated January 2021
This statement is intended to support BFHI coordinators and senior staff to plan work related to Baby Friendly accreditation during the ongoing global pandemic. It provides an update to our original statement from 29 June 2020.
Whilst we appreciate that 2020 has been a challenging year for all, BFHI Australia has continued to receive a number of queries from health services and maternity facilities who want to continue their progress with Baby Friendly accreditation.
Continuing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic progression and resulting travel restrictions indicates that Baby Friendly assessments are unlikely to be possible on-site for the foreseeable future. We are therefore developing a remote-based assessment process which will be available initially until the end of 2021. Other countries have trialled similar remote Baby Friendly assessments and have reported that with the appropriate internet and video technology, these have been successful.
We recognise that these are unusual times and that each health service and maternity facility will require an individual and flexible approach. Those with assessments booked or due in the near future are therefore being contacted to establish what their needs are.
Preparing for accreditation
Assessments which are due to be scheduled within 2021 can be booked once the health service or maternity facility is ready to proceed. BFHI coordinators should consider:
- The ability to meet ALL required standards. We recognise that some care is being delivered differently whilst still meeting Baby Friendly standards, e.g., antenatal parent education classes may be delivered via telehealth. If however, you feel that standards are NOT being met, you are encouraged to contact the BFHI Australia team before proceeding with an assessment.
- Completing your bi-annual breastfeeding stats and carrying out a BFHI Self-Appraisal will help you to decide whether your health service or maternity facility is likely to meet the required standards. If some of the standards are not being met, then again you are encouraged to contact the BFHI Australia team before proceeding with an assessment.
- Facilities or services completing their second or subsequent accreditations can complete all aspects of the assessment (which would normally be carried out on-site) remotely with the BFHI assessment team.
- Submission of documents will be completed electronically in advance of the assessment
- Introductory and feedback meetings will be held via video link.
- Interviews with staff will be carried out via video link using a platform such as Microsoft teams or Zoom etc
- All mother interviews will be carried out by telephone. Consent must be obtained in advance of the assessment.
- Submission of photographic or other evidence to show display boards to be sent in advance of the assessment.
- Our friends overseas already trialling remote assessments have noted that doing assessments remotely takes more assessor time, however as we are not incurring costs for hotel accommodation and travel, we will make a slight reduction in the charge for an assessment carried out remotely.
- Based on enquiries, we anticipate a high demand for assessment bookings in 2021 and 2022. We therefore suggest that once you anticipate that your service will be ready for an assessment, you consider making a booking in order to secure your preferred date.
Please contact the BFHI Australia team with any queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.