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Nepal opens its first-ever human milk bank for premature, at-risk infants

Amrit Kosh,' the human milk bank at Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital has facilities to collect, pasteurise, test, and store safe donor human milk from lactating mothers and provide it to needy

Milk

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Press Trust of India Kathmandu
Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Friday inaugurated the Himalayan nation's first-ever human milk bank at a maternity and women's hospital here to give premature and other at-risk infants access to the vast benefits of breast milk when they need it the most.
Amrit Kosh,' the human milk bank at the Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital has the facilities to collect, pasteurise, test, and store safe donor human milk from lactating mothers and then provide it to infants in need, officials said.
The centre has been established in partnership between the Government of Nepal, the European Union and UNICEF.
Premature, low birthweight and small for gestational age babies are vulnerable in terms of survival and cognitive development and usually have feeding problems due to their medical conditions," said Prof. Dr. Amir Babu Shrestha, Director, Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital.
The milk bank is an important step towards ensuring baby-friendly health systems and gives premature, low birthweight, and other at-risk infants access to the vast benefits of breast milk when they need it the most, according to a press release issued by UNICEF Nepal.
Every year, around 15 million premature babies are born around the globe. In lower-middle-income countries like Nepal, an estimated 81,000 premature babies are born.
Infants face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life while premature and low birth-weight babies face even a greater risk.
According to the Nepal Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (NMICS) 2019, the neonatal mortality rate (number of deaths per 1,000 live births during the first 28 days of life) in Nepal is 16.
Similarly, the infant mortality rate (number of deaths per 1000 live births, which are under 1 year of age) is 25 and the under-five mortality rate is 28 per 1,000 live births.
Human breast milk contains the best source of nutrition and ensures survival and healthy growth of babies. It bolsters brain development and has lifelong benefits for the baby and the mother, remarked Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, Director, Family Welfare Division, Ministry of Health and Population.
Human breast milk contains antibodies which cannot be found in any other sources. Exclusive breast feeding has the potential to prevent 13 per cent of the death of children aged under-five globally each year, according to experts.
Early initiation of breast feeding within the first hour of birth in addition to exclusive breast feeding can cut down 22 per cent of all newborn deaths worldwide.
In Nepal, only 42 per cent of children under 2 years of age are breast-fed within one hour of birth and 62 per cent of children under six months are exclusively breast-fed, according to NMICS 2019.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Topics : Nepal milk

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First Published: Aug 19 2022 | 9:37 PM IST

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