The first pasteurised human milk bank in Delhi and National Capital Region was today opened at Fortis La Femme at New Delhi.
The Amaara Milk Bank, set up in collaboration between Fortis La Femme, a specialised hospital for women and newborns in New Delhi, and non-profit organisation Breast Milk Foundation, will make pasteurised human milk available to infants.
India faces its own set of unique health challenges, one of them being the high vulnerability associated with pre-term babies who are significantly under-weight. Providing human breast milk to these fragile neonates can substantially cut the risk of infection and help save their lives. Keeping in mind the physiological inability of the mother in many cases to breastfeed, human milk banks assume great importance.
Although human milk banking is a common practice globally, only 14 such banks exist in India, as per the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. This initiative is in line with the World Health Organization‘s Millennium Development Goals to reduce the Infant Mortality Rate.
At the ‘Amaara’ Milk Bank at Fortis La Femme, milk once donated will be tested, pasteurised and frozen (for a period of six months) and made available to needy newborns. It is a public milk bank and, therefore, accessible to all mothers who need it, the statement added.
Although, globally, human milk banking is a common practice, in India, the progress has been slow and only 14 such banks exist, as per the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, the statement noted. Key reasons for this are lack of awareness among the public and promotion of formula milk.
Raghuram Mallaiah, director, Neonatology, Fortis La Femme, pointed out,
Many mothers of vulnerable, hospitalised babies are unable to breastfeed feed them. In addition, many mothers due to their own poor health or other reasons are not able to produce sufficient milk for their babies. For all of them, pasteurided donor milk is recommended as an essential alternative.