Kenya: New Pumwani Human Milk Bank – What It Means and Why It Matters


Governor Mike Sonko on Friday launched Kenya’s first human milk bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

The bank will receive and pasteurise breast milk from donors that will be given to premature and sick newborns who are unable to access their mothers’ milk.

The project is a partnership between different organisations among them UK Aid and PATH.

Infant nutritionist Esther Kimani told Nairobi News the project will save the lives of many preterm babies.

“Some premies (preterm babies) react to formula milk because it is a modification of cow milk for infants. Even after modification, cow milk unlike human milk has high protein and sugars which some babies are unable to utilize and excrete. For a mature baby, formula is fine but for premies and sick babies it can react leaving the baby helpless if the mother is unable or unavailable to produce breast milk,” she explained.

SCREENED AND PASTEURISE

Ms Kimani explained that milk banks world over are run on the same model of blood banks where donors are screened and the milk is pasteurised.

“It won’t be the nurses at Pumwani running it, this is a partnership that will see special staff trained to handle the facility and even the nurses will have to make requests to access the milk. It’s a great initiative that has seen infant mortality reduce in countries where it has been implemented,” she said.

Nairobians online had varied reactions to the launch of the milk bank.

Dalizu Miseh wrote; “Wow, this is the best news I have heard in a while… .am just hoping that hygiene standards when handling the milk are going to be reinforced and adhered to.”

Dee Blessing commented; “Pumwani cannot be trusted with baby milk when infant deaths occur there due to negligence… how safe is the milk, who checks donors?”

Monicah Kogi Amenya stated; “So many children needing a good nutritious start to life and their mothers cannot provide. Orphans will also benefit. Great for moms whose milk won’t let down and can’t afford formula milk.I hope there are measures in place to properly screen mothers donating breastmilk.”

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Publish date : 2019-04-01 09:44:35

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