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Acta Paediatr. 1999 Apr;88(4):353-5.

Humane Neonatal Care Initiative.

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Tallin Children's Hospital, Estonia.


The author has worked for many years in experimental departments in the former Soviet health system. Now, with integration into the western health system, many questions are being asked about high-technology neonatal medicine and whether it is sufficiently humane. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) movement is well known all over the world, but unfortunately it is only used for healthy children in maternity hospitals. A paradoxical situation has been created: the routines of maternity wards comply with the BFHI, whereas a neonatal intensive care unit in the same hospital may not meet the requirements of the BFHI. BFHI mainly cover breastfeeding in maternity hospitals. Humane Neonatal Care Initiatives include minimum aggressive therapy, minimum contact between sick newborns and medical staff, and maximum contact with mothers; the number of tests and examinations should be reduced to a minimum. Eleven steps towards the improvement of psychosocial and medical care in units for sick newborns are presented. This article is intended to provoke serious discussion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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