Wellbeing Foundation Africa partners with Medela Cares to Improve the Use of Human Milk for Lactation Care and Feeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Medela Cares together with Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) has launched a strategic initiative designed to address the challenge of infants admitted into the NICU who are unable to follow the traditional breastfeeding journey in Nigeria. As part of Medela's Global NICU QI initiative, the project is a recognized joint commitment to the UN's Every Women Every Child Initiative (EWEC). This initiative will be built and scaled on Medela’s scope of expertise, and its evidence-based best practices aimed at improving the use of human milk in the NICU.
Implementing partner, WBFA, a long-standing foundation impacting the area of newborn health in partnership with Medela Cares will build and deliver NICU-specific education and training materials for lactation care, breastmilk feeding, and transitioning to at-breast feeding and provide education sessions through their various channels.
To ensure quality assurance and due diligence, Medela will provide technical support through a bi-weekly in-person education and training programs to the WBFA midwife network to reach over 2000 healthcare professionals serving over 20,000 mothers and their vulnerable infants as well as host quarterly quality improvement webinars and toolkits reaching over 200 healthcare professionals to provide additional education and training materials across the country annually.
Medela's long history as a global player in breastfeeding research, products, technology, and innovation is the perfect partner for Wellbeing Foundation Africa in our quest to improve Nigeria's prevalence of breastfeeding and our focus on NICU support," said Her Excellency Toyin Ojora Saraki, Founder and President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa. “Ensuring new mothers are wholly supported to breastfeed is not only critical for the health and wellbeing of the baby: it can be linked to all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
According to the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, UN DESA Population Division), in 2020, Nigeria’s neonatal mortality rate is 35.50% per 1000 live births which affirms Nigeria as a high-burden country for neonatal mortality. Additionally, complications due to prematurity account for over 30% of neonatal mortalities (WHO child mortality reports). Through this initiative, these negative aspects are reduced with increased dose and exposure to Own Mother's Milk (OMM).
Statistics showed that infants initiating breastfeeding within an hour of birth versus infants initiating breastfeeding between 2 and 23 hours after birth had a 33% less risk of mortality while infants initiating breastfeeding 24 hours after birth had an 85% greater risk of mortality.
“Research shows us that breast milk is critical for growth and overall health for newborns and is a low-cost and highly effective intervention that can prevent infant death,” said Annette Brüls, CEO of Medela worldwide. “We are thrilled to partner with The Wellbeing Foundation Africa as part of our commitment to the UN’s Every Woman, Every Child movement to better the lactation care provided to mothers and ultimately improve the infant feeding and health outcomes in Nigeria.”
To achieve significant outcomes, WBFA will be working with high-level neonatal facilities with a respectful and motivated healthcare team as well as midwives who will facilitate Mamacare 360 classes that will be integrated into the neonatal unit within the selected hospitals across Nigeria. The timeline of the programme is expected to run its course through a 2-year period from June 2020 to end in July 2022.