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Photo credit: Fridah Bwari, Save the Children
Photo Credit: Fridah Bwari, Save the Children

Through a collaboration with the Kenya Ministry of Health Division of Family Health, Wellness, and Nutrition, the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) task force in Kenya, Nairobi County, and Mbagathi County Referral Hospital, USAID Advancing Nutrition is developing and testing a model mentorship program to improve the quality of breastfeeding counseling provided by health workers in Kenya. The program is designed to reinforce, strengthen and sustain competencies that providers learn through the 2020 BFHI Training Course for Maternity Staff, which has been adapted for Kenya. Implementation guidance was developed in 2022, as well as a training for mentors to prepare them for their role.

Implementation Research

The mentorship program is currently being tested at Mbagathi County Referral Hospital to examine the feasibility of implementing the mentorship program as well as its ability to improve health worker breastfeeding counseling knowledge and practices and pregnant and postpartum women’s perceptions of breastfeeding counseling. With the results from the implementation research, we will finalize the implementation guidance and the mentor training package by the end of 2023 and results will be shared here and disseminated in Kenya. The results will inform decisions on the feasibility of the mentorship program to support the implementation of step 2 of the BFHI Ten Steps in Kenya (ensuring that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence, and skills to support breastfeeding) and may provide a model that can be adapted to other countries or contexts to strengthen breastfeeding counseling.


By Rosie Eldridge, Nutrition and Health Systems and Early Childhood Development Project Coordinator; Courtney Meyer, Publications Manager; and Sascha Lamstein, Senior Technical Advisor, USAID…