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Health unit awarded Baby-Friendly Initiative designation

SMDHU now joins 27 of the 36 Ontario health units who have achieved the designation
Marg LaSalle of the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada recently presented the award to SMDHU Board of Health Chair Scott Warnock, who was joined by (LtoR) the health unit’s Carolyn Shoreman, Natalie Riewe, Lori Webel-Edgar, Kerri Grummet, and Lucy Bray, as well as Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU Medical Officer of Health. Supplied photo

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has been awarded the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) designation, a global strategy to improve the care provided to mothers and babies, developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

“This is an important accomplishment for us. The designation reflects our commitment to provide global standard of care for infant feeding and to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in our local communities,” said Natalie Riewe, manager of the Child Health program in the health unit’s Community and Family Health Department.

“We help families by giving them information and support to feed and care for their babies. We work together with many local organizations including hospitals, family health teams, community health centers, midwifery practices and community services to improve access to services across Simcoe Muskoka. As well, all of our offices are welcoming to families, providing space so that they can comfortably feed and care for their babies and children.”

A certificate of designation was presented to the health unit by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada at February's Board of Health meeting.

The SMDHU now joins 27 of the 36 Ontario health units who have achieved the designation. BFI designation is a continuous quality improvement process and in order to maintain designation, SMDHU will need to continue to submit annual reports and reapply for designation in five years’ time.

For more information about the Baby-Friendly Initiative or programs and services families call Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or visit