In 2018, WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) released new Implementation guidance for the revised Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Guidance in which revisions to the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (Ten Steps) are described. One of the most significant revisions to the Ten Steps was made to Step 2, which now says, “Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding”. This reformulation of Step 2 introduced a transition in BFHI from a focus on training to a focus on competency verification.
The new BFHI Step 2 focuses on verification to ensure that direct care providers have the knowledge, competence and skills to support breastfeeding, especially during the first few days in maternity facilities. The organizations released a Competency Verification Toolkit is designed to assist countries and health care systems to feasibly link competencies to clinical practice. Competency verification is essentially “the test” of whether a provider can do the job accurately, sensitively and correctly. If a direct care provider cannot clearly demonstrate competence in a task, then primary or remedial education or training is required.
The Competency Verification Toolkit included a list of multiple choice questions and case studies created by WHO & UNICEF. We at the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center (OBRC) utilized the provided toolkit to build an online assessment tool to assist our Oklahoma Birthing Hospitals in their BFHI journeys. The link to the OBRC Assessment Tool is below. This 45-question tool is free for anyone to use and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Scores per domain as well as a list of all questions and the selected answers are automatically emailed to the address that you provide. Emailed results will show one's scores for each domain. Next to each domain score is a link to OBRC's online course for that domain in case a team member needs further education for a particular domain.