We at Step 2 Education International Inc., wish to let you know we are aware of the changes made to the standards described in the 2018 Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Implementation Guidance (WHO 2018). We are also aware of the 2020 BFHI Australia Maternity Facility Handbook and the section related to Step 2 where ”training personnel focuses on competency assessment to ensure that all personnel have the knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding.”
Our team is solely focused on Baby-Friendly Education, and as such, changes from WHO/UNICEF are of the utmost importance to us and our clients all over the world.
Earlier this year, we updated our courses to be in line with the language changes relevant to the revised 2018 Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. As of August 5th, 2020 the most recent WHO/UNICEF BFHI documents have become available.
We now have put a team together to rework our courses to bring them fully in line with these new BFHI documents. The international BFHI changes include an increase in the hours of education from 20 to 22 hours of learning and practice. This is significantly more than the recommended 8 hours in the 2020 BFHI Australia Maternity Facility Handbook. The goal of our education is to help enable staff to develop competency skills and effective counseling skills, so as to help build maternal confidence. This will help ensure consistent messages and implement standards that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
The International guidelines for the assessment of competencies with measurable tools also became available on August 5th, 2020. These guidelines and other documents are available within our courses. We will continue to deliver our education program that provides staff with evidence-based lactation information so they can ensure best practice to families they are caring for.
We have a solid base education program and we will be working on an updated program of 8 hours for Australian facilities. We are aware this is a significant shortfall in BFHI education hours in comparison to the international standards and should any Australian facilities prefer to enroll their staff into our updated 22 hour BFHI course when it becomes available, they will be welcome to do so.
This is a significant change from the original 20-hour requirement of training hours as an indicator of competency assessment to assure competency through a more rigorous measure of actual performance in clinical practice.
It is important to recognise that with the new guidelines, the competency skills are to be verified through direct observation of the staff’s clinical practice. Step 2 Education International Inc. can provide the relevant education yet your facilities will need to provide the relevant supervised clinical experience.
Our current 20-hour course covers all the knowledge-base of the 20 core competencies indicated in the 2020 BFHI Australia Maternity Facility Handbook yet, as mentioned above, the new request is now to provide this education in 8 hours. This is what we at Step 2 Education International Inc. will be working on in the coming months. The WHO International competency tool kit for measuring the competencies are available and can be used with staff when they are being evaluated by their local BFHI hospital facilitator.
“Full competency is attained through combining knowledge and skills with sound clinical judgment and a positive attitude. Training programs, however excellent, do not assure the combination of knowledge, skills, clinical judgment, and positive attitude.” (MacEnroe 2020).
We do our best to accommodate all our International clients and rest assured we will do our best for our Australian clients. We look forward to continuing to provide a solid up-to-date and evidence-based BFHI education program to your staff.
Ph.D., CCC, IBCLC, ALC
Director & Professional
B.Sc, RN, IBCLC, ANLC
Director & Professional
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Last Updated: September 2018