- CNM Reporter
The first breast milk bank in the state will start functioning on February 5 at Ernakulam General Hospital. The inauguration of the project, titled ‘Nectar of Life’, will be held at the hospital on February 5 at 3 pm. Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja will launch the bank via video conference. Established in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Cochin Global, Breastmilk bank is the brainchild of Rotary District 3201 former Governor Madhav Chandran.
The state-of-the-art breast milk bank has been set up with the objective of ensuring breast milk for newborns who are not breastfed due to maternal death, disease or milk insufficiency. The idea of a breast milk bank came to India 32 years ago but for some reason it has not been implemented in Kerala so far. Madhav Chandran said that it was in this context that the Rotary Club came up with the idea of setting up two breast milk banks at Ernakulam and Thrissur Jubilee Medical Mission Hospital in Kerala. He said that all safety norms and procedures for collection, storage and distribution of milk have been ensured as per the guidelines of the government. Collected milk can be stored in the bank for up to 6 months without any damage.
Breastmilk is initially provided free of charge only to infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the General Hospital. The plan is to later set up a network of hospitals for milk collection and distribution. About 3600 babies are born in the General Hospital every year. Of these, 600 to 1000 children are admitted to the intensive care unit. According to Rotary Cochin Global Dr. Paul . He said breastfeeding mothers would be mothers who had given birth in a hospital and had access to health information. “Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to take part in the great work of saving the lives of newborns,” he said.
The breast milk bank, which includes a pasteurization unit, refrigerators, deep freezers, hospital grade breast pump, RO plant, sterilizing equipment and computers, was set up at a cost of Rs 35 lakh. Although a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last year between the Rotary Club of Cochin Global and the state health department to set up the bank, the project was delayed due to the spread of Covid-19. AB Elias, project coordinator, said the interior of the breast milk bank was set up to provide comfort to breastfeeding mothers. The IMA and the Indian Association of Pediatricians (IAP) have provided trained nursing staff to run the Breastmilk Bank. As this is an innovative idea for Kerala, there should be a concerted effort to make people aware of its need and security. Asha Sunil of Inner Wheel Club said that the members of the Inner Wheel Club will lead the awareness campaign by distributing notices calling for the importance of breast milk donation and using hoardings and posters involving the stars.