New training tool to support best breastfeeding practices – 20 May 2009

Posted on May 22, 2009. Filed under: Educ for Hlth Professions, Obstetrics |

New training tool to support best breastfeeding practices 20 May 2009

“A unique new training tool to help maternity and community health services achieve the training standards for staff required by the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI), has been developed by Health Behaviour Research Ltd, a spin-out company from Coventry University.

Health Behaviour Research Ltd uses research conducted at the university to produce new interventions which help improve health, making them accessible to the public and healthcare professionals.

As the only evidence base available worldwide in this area CUBA (Coventry University Breastfeeding Assessment) uses research into breastfeeding practice and the BFI standards to assess the knowledge and skills of health professionals supporting breastfeeding in maternity services and in the community.

CUBA is an online, multiple-choice questionnaire addressing all key topics of the BFI training standards to successful breastfeeding, including video clips and photograph-based questions for more realistic scenarios. Upon completion of the questionnaire instant individual feedback is given to the healthcare practitioner, along with recommendations for further study and areas to improve.

This assessment is fully compatible with the Breastfeeding Workbook and DVD from Health Behaviour Research Ltd, which provide essential knowledge of the principles and practice of breastfeeding support. Healthcare workers can easily identify areas in which they need to develop their knowledge and skills, studying in their own time and at their own pace using the workbook and DVD. When staff undertake a further CUBA assessment, this can show them, and their managers, what impact the workbook has had on their breastfeeding knowledge and skills.

Professor Louise Wallace, from Coventry University and Health Behaviour Research Ltd, said: “For healthcare trusts it is a massive commitment of staff and time to try and reach the standards of the Baby Friendly Initiative. We wanted to develop a tool that would easily assess the training needs of the staff as individuals and provide resources to develop the necessary knowledge and skills, but in a way that was flexible and convenient for the workforce.”

CUBA will be piloted by maternity, community and children’s services in Dudley, Walsall and Solihull in a joint funded initiative by the Department of Health West Midlands and NHS West Midlands. The pilot was launched in Solihull and the Black Country during the National Breast Feeding Awareness week beginning 10th May. Up to 900 members of staff from the three healthcare economies are expected to take part.

“It is really important that we address inequalities in health through breastfeeding capacity building whilst achieving UNICEF BFI standards. This pilot may show how we can create a step change in our levels of breastfeeding, particularly gaining skills to support those least likely to breastfeed,” Caroline Mansell, Regional Infant Feeding Coordinator, Department of Health West Midlands.

More information

The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative

The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative was launched in the UK in 1994 to encourage maternity hospitals to implement the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding; in 1998 this was extended to cover 7 steps for community health workers.”

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