The human milk bank was launched on Saturday, March 30 at Surya Hospital in Santacruz, Mumbai.
The chief guest at the event was Dr Armida Fernandez who is the former dean and professor and Head Neonatology Department at Sion Hospital. She is also the founder of SNEHA.
In 1989, Dr Armida Fernandez set up Asia’s first milk bank at Sion hospital. She then went on to start SNEHA in the early 1990s with the aim to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and gender-based violence. Routinely treating low-income families coming in with sick, premature infants, she wanted to develop sustainable interventions that would go beyond providing stop-gap solutions.
While speaking at the event, Dr Armida Fernandez, said, “Breastfeeding is the best gift for babies. It is most valuable when compared to teddy bears, gold or silver. Breastfeeding help prevent many disease in children, including cancer.”
Dr Fernandez added, “Even mothers are protected from ovarian and breast cancer. This is a good initiative taken by Surya Hospital to set-up a human milk bank it will be a boon to many. This will be beneficial to many children.”
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Bhupendra Avasti, a paediatrician at Surya Hospital, said, “Complications can occur if premature babies are given regular milk if their mothers cannot breastfeed. Then at such times, premature infants can be given milk through the human milk bank. No complications will occur due to this. A mother’s milk is filled with nutrients which is beneficial to the child. There are no human milk banks at private hospitals. This milk bank will help be beneficial to everybody. It will also save the lives of many babies. It will help encourage mothers to donate breastmilk. This milk bank will start functioning from Saturday onwards.”
Dr Nandakishor Kabra, a neonatologist and Director of Neonatal Intensive care at Surya Hospital, said, “Mothers who have a surplus of breast milk can come to this milk bank and donate their milk. This milk will be stored in the fridge and then pasteurised. It will be tested to confirm that no infections are present in the breastmilk. The reports will come within two days after which the milk will be fed to the child. This milk will be stored in the deep freezer and can be utilised for three months. If an infant weighs less than 1.5 kilos then the breast milk will immediately be given to them.”