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Breast Milk Banks

  • 14 Dec 2019
  • 2 min read

Breast Milk Banks are established under “National Guidelines on Establishment of Lactation Management Centres in Public Health Facilities” by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

  • Under the guidelines, Breast Milk Banks follow a structural hierarchy, which can be simplified as:
    • Comprehensive Lactation Management Centre
      • It is established for the purpose of collecting, screening, processing, storing and distributing donor human milk at Government Medical Colleges or District Hospitals with high delivery load and availability of newborn treatment units.
    • Lactation Management Unit
      • It has a collection and storage facility of mother’s own milk in District Hospital/Sub-district Hospital with at least 12 beds.
    • Lactation Support Units
      • These are established at all delivery points to provide breastfeeding support, lactation counselling and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) support to mothers.
      • KMC is a method of care for preterm infants. The method involves infants being carried, usually by the mother, with skin-to-skin contact.
  • The first Breast Milk Bank of India was established in 1989 at Mumbai.

Importance of Breastfeeding

  • Breast milk is the optimum source of nutrition for the first six months of life of an infant.
  • It prevents infections like diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections in early infancy and thus reduces infant mortality.
  • It decreases the risk of mothers developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
  • It also protects infants from obesity-related illnesses, diabetes and increases IQ.

Initiatives By Indian Government

  • MAA - "Mothers Absolute Affection"
    • MAA is a nationwide programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to promote breastfeeding.
  • Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh
    • Vatsalya, a National Human Milk Bank and Lactation Counselling Centre has been established in collaboration with the Norwegian government.

Source: PIB

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