Kerala’s First Human Milk Bank to be Opened

Kerala is going to open its first Human Milk Bank (HMB) on February 5, 2021.

Key Highlights

  • This is a state-of-art facility that will be opened at the Ernakulam general hospital by the Health Minister of Kerala, KK Shailaja.
  • The milk bank is being set up with the support of the Rotary Club of Cochin Global.
  • The milk bank will ensure the availability of the breast milk for new-born babies who are not breastfed by their own mothers who are sick or deceased or due to insufficient production of breast milk.

What was the need of the bank?

  • Approximately 3600 babies are born in the general hospital a year.
  • Among them, 600 to 1,000 sick babies are admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
  • But mothers are unable to feed them sufficiently because of low birth-weight of premature babies or babies separated from mothers.
  • Thus, the pasteurized breast milk from the milk bank will reduce the risk of infections and help in boosting their immunity.
  • This concept of milk bank had come to India 32 years back but Kerala did not have a milk bank until now.

How this bank will collect the milk?

The milk will be collected by following all the safety protocols and procedures and it will be preserved and provide it to needy children as per government guidelines. The collected milk will be stored for 6 months safely in the bank. The milk will be provided free of cost initially to those babies who are admitted in the neonatal intensive care unit. At the later stage, a network of hospitals will be planned for multiple collections and safe distribution points.

Who will donate the milk?

The milk will be donated by the mothers from the hospital who have delivered babies. These mothers will have all their health statistics available at the hospital.

About Human Milk Bank

This human milk bank comprises of a pasteurization unit, deep freezers, refrigerators, sterilizing equipment, RO plant, and computers. It has been set up at a cost of ₹35 lakh following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the state health department and Rotary Club of Cochin Global in the year 2020. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) together and the Indian Association of Pediatricians (IAP) will be providing trained nursing staff to operate the milk bank.

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