JaipurThis comes as good news as the World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) begins. More than 7,500 women have donated more than 15 lakh millilitre of breast milk to save the lives of many newborns. “I salute the mothers who have donated their milk. It has helped 5,195 newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These newborns were provided 36,234 units of mothers’ milk (one unit is 30ml),” said Devendra Agarwal, adviser to the state health department for Aanchal Mother’s milk bank project, said while talking about the breastfeeding week.He said that 15,00,680 ml milk has been collected at the 11 milk banks. Of these 11 milk banks, two in Alwar and Bharatpur and are 11 months old, while the remaining nine have been were set up in last five months. The first week of August is recognised as World Breastfeeding Week, which aims at spreading awareness about the importance of breastfeeding, nutrition tips and breastfeeding dos and don’ts.He said that Rajasthan has the largest network of 13 human milk banks –Rabindra Nath Tagore Medical College in Udaipur, 10 milk banks at the district hospitals in Bharatpur, Alwar, Chittorgarh, Beawar, Banswara, Bhilwara, Bundi, Tonk, Baran and Churu, one at Sawai Man Singh Medical College in Jaipur run by the Norway government and one at a private hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, in Jaipur. “Rajasthan has many firsts to its credit when it comes to mothers’ milk. Rajasthan is the only state to give the right to newborns to mothers’ milk. Rajasthan is also the first to set up mother’s milk storage and distribution centre in Ajmer, as excess milk was being received at the centres,” Agarwal said. The state is also the first to set up a green corridor for transferring mothers’ milk from different milk banks to the storage centre in Ajmer. “The government is serious about controlling the neonatal mortality rate in the state and transportation of mother’s milk to storage centre is a step towards it. The government has made arrangements so that the refrigerated van carrying the milk will find a clear route at crossings, toll plazas and will also be diverted through other routes in case of a traffic jam,” added Agarwal. He said that at present these 11 milk banks have 8644 units in their stock. “These milk banks also have breastfeeding clinic where 13,148 mothers, who could not feed their babies due to some problem, were able to feed their children. Also, 49,344 mothers were trained and provided assistance to feed their child through counselling services.” Enthused by the success of these milk banks, chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced that seven more mother milk banks will be set up at Sirohi, Jalore, Barmer, Rajsamand, Dholpur, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur by the end of this financial year.