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Human Milk Bank are the need of hour at all maternity hospitals in India

June 15, 2022 05:25 PM

NEW DELHI: Breast milk is the best milk for an infant. But unfortunately, it is not an option for several newborns when the mother is not able to provide it for various reasons. In such cases the second-best option is pasteurized donor human milk. The first milk bank in Asia was founded by Dr Armida Fernandez in 1989 at Sion Hospital Dharavi, Mumbai and it was named as SNEHA. Several large hospitals in India now have their own dedicated human milk banks.
Human milk banks should ideally be located near or inside the neonatal units and post natal wards. Recipients usually include preterm(premature) and sick babies, or babies whose mothers are not able to lactate. Advantages of donor milk over first substitutes are that it decreases under 5 mortality rates significantly by decreasing sepsis rate. Breast milk is considered liquid gold for newborn as it contains all the necessary nutrients required for growth and development for 1st 6 months of life. Infrastructure required for a milk bank usually requires a room of 250 square feet with areas for technicians, equipments, storage and provision of privacy for donor mothers. Donors usually are healthy lactating mothers who are not on drugs (toxic to babies)or smokes and are negative for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Counselling of these mothers is done and then checked for suitability for donation, written informed consent is taken and thorough examination is done. If needed, additional tests are done, following which milk is collected and immediately stored by the staff. Pooling/mixing of milk is done before pasteurization and after that microbiological screening
is done. If its shows non-significant growth, that milk is considered safe for disbursement. Milk can be stored in deep freezer at -20 degree Celsius for up to 3-6 months.
Recipients give an informed consent and thawing/defrosting is done. Microwaving and refreezing is not advised and it has to be used within 3 hours of coming at room temperature. Breast milk is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and now thanks to milk banks, to other babies also. This is an initiative that needs to be encouraged at all neonatal units and maternity wards in our country.
Below is the list of some of human milk banks in India: 1.Divya Mother Milk Bank, Udaipur, Rajasthan 2. Lokamanya Tilak Hospital (Sion Hospital), Sion, Mumbai 3. Deena Nath Mangeshkar Hospital and Research Centre, Pune 4. SSKM Hospital, Kolkata 5. Institute of Child Health, Egmore, Chennai 6. King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM), Parel, Mumbai 7. Amara Milk Bank (in collaboration with Fortis la Femme), Greater Kailash, New Delhi 8. Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Byculla, Mumbai 9. Cama Hospital, Fort, Mumbai 10. King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow

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