Government should restore funding to Baby Friendly Health Initiative

28 September 2017

Labour TD Joan Burton today raised at the Order of Business the removal of funding of €50,000 from the Baby Friendly Health Initiative by the Government that has forced it to close down.

Deputy Burton said:

“In the Dáil today, at the Order of Business I asked the Minister for Education in the context of National Maternity Strategy and the fact that Ireland has one of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the developed world why funding of €50,000 has been withdrawn from the Baby Friendly Health Initiative.

“It is a huge disappointment that the Baby Friendly Health Initiative has now been forced to close for the lack of €50,000.

“A key part of the National Maternity strategy is supporting the expansion of breast-feeding by new mothers. I was both disappointed and shocked at the withdrawal of funding from the Baby Friendly Health Initiative, which is supported by the UN and the World Health Organization, WHO, and which involves going into hospitals and supporting women who have given birth to breast-feed their babies. It was receiving budgetary support from the HSE of €50,000 a year and was a key part of the strategy.

“I and an awful lot of other people are shocked to find that the HSE has now arbitrarily axed all of the funding to the point at which the initiative, which was internationally supported, has closed down.

“The Labour Party in our recent policy paper on supporting breast-feeding in Ireland recommended that the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in Ireland, an independent charity, should have its annual funding of €50,000 immediately restored.

“I am calling on the Government to now restore this small level of funding.”

ENDS

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