Hug-a-Baby Lactating Room donated to VJH
T Geddes Grant, through the Huggies brand, donated a Hug-a-Baby Lactating Room valued at $1.7 million to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital on December 23. The breastfeeding room, located on the postnatal ward, is a multi-functional space that will be used not just for breastfeeding, but also as an educational space for Mommy and Me baby-care demonstrations. It will also be used for private group or individual sessions with mothers who are having challenges with breastfeeding.
Tanisha Morrison, Huggies brand manager, said in addition to the Hug a Baby Lactating room, the four rocking chairs, footstools, changing station and television that were provided, they will also provide a monthly supply of newborn pampers and wipes for mothers in need who will be using the room. The company has an ongoing islandwide hospital and clinic programme hosting sessions on diapering and buttock care and donating diapers and wipes to mothers. This has been in operation for eight years with plans to create similar breastfeeding and lactation space.
Andrea Dawkins-Powell, deputy director of nursing services of VJH, shared that the room will be serving the ward that can have up to 63 mothers. “Presently on average we have been having between 30 and 45 mothers per day.” She expressed that this room is one of importance and will be put to great use as mothers struggle with the knowledge of establishing and continuing breastfeeding.
PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE
While discussions and planning continue apace for elderly residents at golden age homes as part of the drive to protect those at-risk from contracting the dreaded COVID-19 virus, it is important to note that babies at havens such as the VJH are also vulnerable.
Chief executive officer of VJH and the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Burknell Stewart, said the hospital is working assiduously to ensure that the environment is safe for patients and employees, despite the supply of personal protective equipment being in short supply sometimes.
“In terms of contingencies, we just have to try to maintain what is it that we get in terms of our subventions. In terms of our supplies, the world is competing for the same supplies,” he said.
Stewart added that they have had to make further cuts from an already meagre budget with the consideration that there is no projected end to the virus.
“Securing funds was already a challenge and with the onset of COVID, the challenge is even greater and it’s not a case where there is discretionary spending where you have contingency funds lying around that you can repurpose,” said Stewart, explaining that COVID has already diverted funds budgeted for routine maintenance and supplies.
Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, state minister of health and wellness, told The Gleaner that the “place does need some sprucing up” and they will be working to renovate the floor, paint the walls and change the drapes, but they are currently unsure of the estimated cost.
The deputy CEO, Diane McIsaacs, said they are hoping for the collaboration of corporate Jamaica and other stakeholders. Besides the upgrading of the hospital’s aesthetics and COVID operations where one ward can be used for mothers, if they are positive, McIsaacs said that they also hope to increase the services provided. “We would want to move where technology is confirmed in terms of laparoscopy services as well,” she shared.
The Victoria Jubilee Hospital, the largest maternal or women hospital in the Caribbean, provides oncology services and other women’s needs that are serviced through the various arms of the institution.