Breast Milk Bank to Open in 5 Medical Colleges

Underweight and abandoned infants, mothers who are unable to feed their children due to biological, physical or mental problems, infants who have lost their mothers will get their feed through these milk banks.

Published: 25th July 2015 12:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2015 12:02 AM   |  A+A-

COIMBATORE: The Tamil Nadu government, in order to reduce the infant mortality rate, is planning to open breast milk banks in five medical colleges from August 1. The deans of these colleges have been directed to take steps by July 31 so that milk banks can begin working from August 1.

Sources said the medical college hospitals in Coimbatore, Trichy, Salem, Theni and Madurai had been selected to open the breast milk banks as a trial. After assessing the public response the project would be extended to other medical colleges too.

Underweight and abandoned infants, mothers who are unable to feed their children due to biological, physical or mental problems, infants who have lost their mothers will get their feed through these milk banks.

"The bank will be set up on 1250 square feet area near the paediatric ward. It will have facilities for breast milk donors, preserving the donated milk, distribution and feeding etc. The bank will have a 190 litre refrigerator to preserve breast milk at an optimum temperature. Depending on the requirement the bank staff will supply milk in 100 ml and 250 ml bottles. The milk will be heated to body temperature before supplying it," said sources.

Mothers who are willing to donate milk will have privacy in the bank. The milk will be sucked out using a sucking bulb. The idea to open breast milk banks was given to the government by the Paediatric Association and it was a necessity now, said health experts.

"Its a wonderful project. Breast milk, with its high content of antibiotics, protein and minerals, is essential for all infants and ensures better health and immunity. However, there are many infants who cannot drink breast milk directly because of various reasons. This breast milk bank promises to offer a solution for all of them," said Sulekha Sundaram, gynaecologist.

"There may not be many who would come forward to donate breast milk and mothers who cannot feed their infants will probably prefer cow's milk or some other protein drink rather than feeding someone else's milk. Such attitude has to be taken care of to make this project a success," added Sulekha.

"The government will organize a massive education drive to make people aware of the milk bank. We will have volunteers to donate breast milk and will educate mothers who hesitate to use the service of the bank. However, abandoned infants, infants whose mother died will definitely benefit from this," said an official from the Public Health Department.

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