IPH work on defined aspects of maternal, infant and child health.
IPH supports the Departments of Health on policy issues relevant to enhancing maternal and child health and reducing inequalities in child health outcomes. IPH contributes to breastfeeding policy, research and practice across the island of Ireland.
- Northern Ireland
Breastfeeding – A great start – A Strategy for Northern Ireland 2013-2023 aims to protect, promote, support, and normalise breastfeeding so that women are able to make informed decisions and are supported to breastfeed; infants are increasingly fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life and, thereafter are fed complementary foods with continued breastfeeding.
IPH supports the implementation of the strategy through its contribution to the Breastfeeding Research Workstrand, a subgroup of the Breastfeeding Strategy Implementation Steering Group. IPH is also represented on the Child Development Project Board Research Workstrand to ensure rigorous evaluation of interventions and a robust programme of research related to the child development programme.
- Republic of Ireland
In 2013/4 IPH completed an extensive review of the implementation of breastfeeding policy in the Republic of Ireland which informed the direction of Breastfeeding in a Healthy Ireland - Health Service Breastfeeding Action Plan 2016 – 2021. The action plan sets out the priority areas to be addressed over the next 5 years to enhance breastfeeding supports and to enable more mothers in Ireland to breastfeed.
In 2016, IPH produced the consultation report on the development of Creating a Better Future Together - National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026. The vision of the Strategy is that women and babies have access to safe, high quality care in a setting most appropriate to their needs; that they are placed at the centre of all services, and treated with dignity, respect and compassion; and parents are supported before, during and after pregnancy to allow them give their child the best possible start in life.
In addition, IPH contribute to the RoI Department of Health Working Group on a Folic Acid Policy which is examining policy options to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in Ireland.
- Consultation on the development of a National Maternity Strategy
- Improving Health and Wellbeing Outcomes in the Early Years
- Interventions with Parents in the Early Years for improved health outcomes: a focus on behaviour and cognitive development/school readiness
- Prevention and Early Intervention in Children and Young People’s Services- Child Health and Development
Other policy team programmes of work also have a significant interface with maternal and child health, including our work on smoking and second-hand smoke and our work on obesity and alcohol.
- Contribute to DoH (NI) Breastfeeding Research Workstream through bi-monthly meetings and participation in development of evidence database, event planning and research.
- Contribute to the mid-term review of the Northern Ireland Breastfeeding Strategy.
- Publish a snapshot report on breastfeeding on the island of Ireland.
- Contribute to DoH (RoI) Policy Group on Folic Acid through monthly meetings.
- Develop, revise and finalise the document – recommendations of the DoH (RoI) Folic Acid Policy Group.
Contact Person: Joanna Purdy