The University of Salford’s Midwifery Directorate has retained its UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation with flying colours after receiving the UK’s highest ever mark.
Salford was accredited by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) in 2012 for the Baby Friendly Initiative University Standards programme. This programme is designed to support breastfeeding and parent infant relationships by working with public services to improve standards of care.
However, UNICEF are now seeking to ensure that midwives across the world can help improve communication and interaction between parents and their children. Consequently, the organisation has developed a new set of standards that universities have to meet to retain their Baby Friendly Initiative University Standards accreditation.
Since last September, Salford’s final year midwifery students were given extensive training for the upcoming one-to-one examinations on the new standards, which also include a focus on the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk. Despite their initial nerves, the students excelled in the recent reassessment and collectively achieved an overall grade of 93 per cent. Salford has now become the UK’s first higher education institution to pass the new standards first time around, and with the highest ever mark.
UNICEF were ‘highly complementary’ of the midwifery staff and students, praising their knowledge, skill and enthusiasm in promoting breastfeeding as a public health requirement for all mothers and babies. UNICEF also credited their commitment to sustaining this accreditation award.
Responding to the retention of the UNICEF accreditation, Anne Leyland, lecturer in midwifery, said: “We are incredibly proud to have retained our UNICEF Baby Friendly accreditation as not only will it raise the University’s profile in the health sector, it will also, more importantly, give our graduates a boost when they search for full-time employment.
“We now have other universities, who are also seeking the same accolade, coming to us for advice on how we conduct our teaching so that they can transfer our skills to their own, and that speaks volumes as it shows the qualities of our course are being recognised by our peers.”