As World Breastfeeding Week 2019 drew to a close yesterday, Toyin Ojora Saraki conducted an official visit to the maternity services of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
In her meetings with senior staff, including Zoe Penn, Medical Director, Victoria Cochrane, Interim Director of Midwifery, Gubby Ayida, Medical Director of Women’s Services, and Kerry Huntington, Fundraising Director of ‘CW +’ which acts as the official charity of the NHS Foundation Trust, Mrs Saraki discussed how the 12,000 women a year who give birth at the Trust are cared for in a midwifery-led system which also provides an obstetric model of care, including specialist support for more complex pregnancies and health conditions with a foetal medicine unit.
Mrs Saraki, whose Wellbeing Foundation Africa is partner to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health’s Emergency Management of Obstetric And Newborn Care Simulation Skills Program in Nigeria, had been invited to visit the hospital in light of her “extensive experience, passion and global standing” in the field of midwifery, as Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa.
During the meetings and tour of the hospital, Mrs Saraki said; “I commend the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for its superb, midwife-led maternity care. I was struck today not only by the excellent standards that women can expect at the hospital, but also by the culture of respect that is ubiquitous amongst staff.”
“I am impressed to observe the workings of primary, secondary and tertiary specialist referrals providing an unbroken continuum of maternity care, as an essential core of universal health coverage services.”
“At the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, our MamaCare midwives also lead the way with quality care, saving many lives and helping women and infants to thrive. I look forward to working with the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to share “research bench to bedside” best-practice models of maternity services, and bring the best possible standards of care to women all over the world – no matter where they give birth.”
Mrs Saraki’s visit coincided with World Breastfeeding week, during which the Wellbeing Foundation Africa launched its ‘Neonatal Intensive Care Lactation Support Pilot Program.’ The WBFA’s midwives support and promote the World Health Organisation’s Ten Steps To Breastfeeding in 655 health centres and hospitals across its Mamacare, Mamacare+N and Alive and Thrive Infant and Young Child Feeding, birth preparedness, antenatal and postnatal education programmes.
In the week, the Foundation donated breastfeeding equipment to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of medical facilities in Lagos, Kwara and Kaduna States and Abuja, to help healthcare facilities provide optimal neonatal intensive care feeding for premature and sick infants, ensuring that fragile neonates may more easily benefit from the immunity provided from colostrum, which serves as the first immunity for newborns.