Pune’s human milk banks facing shortage of donors; doctors urge more mothers to come forward
Doctors stated that there is a need for more women to come forward to donate their milk to the milk bank, which is benefiting thousands of infants.pune Updated: Jan 21, 2018 14:43 IST
Infants across the city are being immensely benefitted by the human milk bank at Sassoon General Hospital but awareness about the milk bank is lacking amongst people, said doctors from Sasson General Hospital. The doctors also stated that there is a need for more women to come forward to donate their milk to the milk bank, which is benefiting thousands of infants.
According to officials at Sassoon General Hospital, the milk bank at the hospital was established four years ago and since then, has benefited over 10,000 infants. The doctors said that so far, for the milk bank, around 17,000 mothers have donated their milk. The facility provides mother’s milk to infants whose mothers don’t have enough milk for their children or are unable to breastfeed. Mother’s milk is important for infants as it helps them grow and be healthy, added doctors.
Dr Ajay Chandanwale, dean of Sassoon General Hospital, Pune, said, “Human milk is very essential for infants as it helps in protecting them from medical conditions like necrotising enterocolitis, a medical condition where a portion of the bowel dies. It typically occurs in newborns that are either premature or otherwise unwell. Apart from this, it also required for building immunity in children. The milk bank at Sassoon General Hospital has helped many kids have a healthy life.”
Dr Chandanwale emphasised that there is a need for more awareness regarding the importance of the milk bank. Greater awareness could mobilise more mothers to come forward for donating their milk, which is now the need of the hour. "We have been consistently counselling mothers at our hospital so that we get more donors,” he added.
According to the World Health Organisation, receiving milk from a human milk bank should be the first alternative for a baby whose mother is unable to breastfeed. Many hospitals in India use infant formula as an alternative to human milk as the latter is not sufficiently available.
Kamla Nehru Hospital, which is run by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), had mobilised a human milk van earlier and it has been operational since 2016. Officials also informed that Sassoon General Hospital has tied up with Kamala Nehru Hospital and Sonawane Hospital for ensuring a steady supply of human milk.