Kampala, Uganda | URN | Starting February 2020, women with excess breast milk and would love to donate to babies whose mothers cannot breast feed will deposit it at the Human Breast Milk Bank in Nsambya Hospital.
The Primary Health Care State Minister, Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu disclosed this to this publication in an interview on Tuesday.
She explained that most of the equipment has been installed and, what remains is to panel beat a few things for the unit to start operating by February 2020.
Without specifying the amount spent on procuring the equipment, Kaducu said it can store milk for a long time and yet maintain it with it’s vital nutrients.
Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka, a neonatologist at Nsambya hospital and head of the Pediatric Unit under, which the bank is being established, said the project is largely funded through donations and fundraising.
The innovation is being mooted as a solution to challenges faced by mothers of especially premature babies who fail to feed their children because they lack milk at the time.
Moriku said access to breast milk by neonates is anticipated to cut the number of neonatal deaths that are now estimated at 27 per 1,000 live births.
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Globally, 800,000 children die every year due to a lack of access to breast milk, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO recommends that children born with very low birth weight less than 2.5Kgs who are estimated at 20 million worldwide be initiated on human breast milk immediately to boast their immunity and avoid retarded growth.
However, when a mother’s own breast milk is not available, the alternative is expressed breast milk from a donor mother but this especially in Uganda is very uncommon for fear of infections. Dr. Nakibuuka says donors will be screened for among others Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS.