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A university in London has become the first in the country to secure a top award for the sustainability of the training it provides to student midwives on infant feeding support.
University of West London midwives have excelled in infant feeding support to become the first university in the country with a prestigious gold award from Unicef UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative.
“This is an outstanding achievement as we continue to focus our care on supporting new parents”
The high profile programme is known for supporting maternity, neonatal, health visiting and children’s centre services to boost breastfeeding levels.
But Unicef also works with universities to ensure that newly qualified midwives and health visitors have the “strong foundation of knowledge needed to care for families”.
Organisations around the country can achieve regular accreditation from the initiative by meeting its set of standards.
However, those deemed to have made meeting the initiative’s standards sustainable over the longer term can be formally assessed for the gold award.
Specifically, a university is considered to be achieving sustainability when they have implemented and maintained the core baby friendly learning outcomes for at least three years.
In addition, they must have leadership structures in place to promote a positive culture, support the maintenance of the learning outcomes, and progress and improve the learning outcomes over time.
At the University of West London, top marks were given to all final-year midwifery students assessed as part of the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative accreditation.
Assessors praised student for their excellent knowledge, enthusiasm and compassion in offering feeding support for new parents, said the university.
As part of the gold award process, teaching staff were also found to be motivated in supporting and educating students.
Charmagne Barnes, dean of the university’s College of Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare, said: “This is an outstanding achievement as we continue to focus our care on supporting new parents however they choose to feed their newborns.
“To show kindness and care alongside excellent clinical knowledge is what makes an excellent midwife, and this award only proves that our students have exactly what it takes as they embark on their careers,” she said.