Bihar is to start an exclusive mothers’ milk bank! Unique as it sounds, this will be the sixth in India. Maharashtra has two and Delhi, Gujarat and Goa have one each.
The Red Cross Society, Bihar chapter, is working in this direction. Dr B B Sinha, chairman of the blood bank sub-committee of the Red Cross, under whose supervision the milk bank will come up, says this is a novel concept and will take a year to fructify.
“The idea is to ensure that every baby receives the best nutrition and even sick babies get benefit of the nutritive part of milk. We are basically targeting three categories of children. First, children whose mothers die at delivery, children born to mothers who do not have milk because of some hormonal deficiency and such children who are disowned and abandoned after delivery,” he adds.
While Red Cross will raise the infrastructure and collaborate with dairy for pasteurisation of milk to remove threads of infection and put in place all investigation procedures like tests for HIV, Hepatitis B & C, HTLV1 (human T-cell leukemia virus type-I) and syphilis, Dr Sinha admits, creating awareness among mothers to donate their milk will be a major challenge.
“We will approach mothers who have excess milk. We will encourage them to donate milk and also tell them that if excess milk is not removed, the breasts get inflamed. There are no side effects if one donates milk, which can be done manually or using an extraction pump,” says Dr Sinha who is championing the cause here.
“Even historically and socially, this has been accepted by the Indian society since ages. Gautam Buddha was supposed to have been wet-nursed by a woman called Gautami. The story of Panna dai is also well known. She was supposed to have wet-nursed the Rana of Udaipur. Foster mother Yashoda was supposed to have wet-nursed Lord Krishna. So, there is no taboo attached with it,” signed off Dr Sinha.