The origin of the phrase “what's measured gets managed” is not entirely clear (management author Peter Drucker is the most common citation), but the importance of choosing what to measure and how exactly to measure it is clear in both research and in clinical practice.
While BFHI has relied heavily on indicators to measure progress, the revitalization brought new guidance on the management of data and the importance of using global sentinel indicators for initiation and exclusivity while maintaining flexibility for the needs of individual facilities and regions.
As with all continuous quality improvement, the focus is on stepwise building of capacity, preparing and strengthening the organization for the future as well as the immediate goal.
The integration of infant feeding indicators into electronic medical records and other data collection systems is a critical aspect to creating and maintaining useful evaluation data for BFHI.
While additional data collection may be required from time to time, having solid universal data that can be compared over time and between facilities. It’s critical that those with knowledge of the needs of maternity care programs be part of the decision making process in selecting and designing such systems and have on-going dialogue as systems evolve over time.
When you have a hand in designing the menu, you are much more likely to enjoy the meal that’s served - an adage that many parents of discerning young eaters will attest to. Finding staff and resources to allocate to the design and implementation of data monitoring systems can be a challenge, yet it’s an important investment in the success of BFHI.
Michelle Pensa Branco MPH IBCLC
World Health Organization. (2017). National implementation of the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative. Accessed March 10 2021 at http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/255197/1/9789241512381-eng.pdf?ua=1
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Last Updated: September 2018