Madurai

Breast milk bank in GRH needs more donors

“There are misconceptions about donation ; women must know that more she gives, better the milk production will be”

The breast milk bank, set up at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) to provide mother’s milk to all, continues to receive donations from lactating mothers. However, doctors say that the facility is underutilised and needs more donors to meet the growing demand.

The milk bank, set up during World Breastfeeding Week in 2015, is the only functional human milk bank in the city. The milk bank is vital for GRH, as the hospital not only witnesses a large number of deliveries every day but is also a major referral centre for neonatal critical care from nearby districts such as Theni, Dindigul, Virudhunagar and Sivaganga.

“In cases where the mother is unable to feed the newborn due to post-partum complications or when the infants are unable to suck milk properly, the milk bank is most useful,” says S. Balasankar, Head, Department of Paediatrics, GRH.

Healthy mothers who give birth at the hospital, after feeding their child, donate the excess milk to the bank. From January to July 2019, the bank was able to collect 27,790 ml of milk from 341 women and was able to feed 204 babies with it. While the bank has the capacity where 10 mothers can donate on a daily basis, on an average the bank receives five or six donations a day.

But the demand for milk is higher, says A.S.A Nivedita, Nodal Officer, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “Our first preference is to give the milk from the bank to underweight and sick babies born at the hospital. Then we focus on orphaned babies who require milk but the supply is insufficient,” she says.

J. Ashok Raja, Head (in charge), Department of Neonatology, says though there was more awareness of milk donation, it is not enough. “There are many misconceptions about donating mother’s milk. Women need to understand that the more she gives, the better the milk production to feed her baby,” he says.

While the bank currently caters to the need of babies born in the hospital, the aim is to expand the service to serve babies born outside the hospital, says Mr. Balasankar.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 3:00:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/breast-milk-bank-in-grh-needs-more-donors/article28825212.ece

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