13 March 2019

Kenya: Coming to Nairobi Soon - Bank Where You Can Donate Your Breast Milk

Photo: Sam Wanjohi/Capital FM
(file photo).

Pumwani Maternity Hospital will be the first facility in East Africa to have a state-of-the-art public human milk bank.

The facility will collect, screen, store and dispense human milk donated by nursing mothers who are not biologically related to newborns.

The milk will be given to newborns in neonatal units who can not access their mother's milk.

Construction of the facility will be funded by United Kingdom to a tune of Sh66.5 million through the Mother-Baby Friendly Initiative Plus (MBFI+).

British High Commissioner Nic Hailey revealed that the milk bank would be launched in April

"Once operational, the milk bank will help save the lives of the vulnerable babies such as those who are premature, orphaned or abandoned through the nutrition benefit of human milk," said Mr Hailey

So far, equipment has been delivered at Pumwani Hospital, including a pasteurizer.

Staff have also been trained and a technical team oriented on milk bank operations.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

The technical team has also been taken through a learning exchange programme in Scotland to learn about quality assurance systems and outreach programmes.

"We have also established a technical working group at both national and county level to provide oversight and ensure adherence to quality and standard and developed guidelines and tools to support operations of the milk bank," said the British High Commissioner.

He commended the county government for its commitment to the realization of the project.

"Working with the staff at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital, the county health team have finalized plans for the launch of the milk bank. This will be symbolic of the importance of our respective government to place improving newborn health and life opportunities in Kenya," he added.

Human milk is critical for the estimated 32.4 million babies in low- and middle-income countries.

Between 15 and 40 percent of vulnerable babies in neonatal units around the world lack access to their own mother's milk, often because of maternal illness, death, or abandonment.

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