In its attempt to provide mother’s milk to more vulnerable and sick newborn babies, the BJ Government Medical College (BJMC) and Sassoon General Hospital, Pune, has started a mobile milk bank facility. This is a first-of-its-kind facility in India.
In November 2013, the hospital had set-up a milk bank with an aim to collect, screen, process, store and distribute milk to infants. The milk van project is an effort to strengthen its existing facility.
“Our hospital sees birth of 25 to 30 babies per day. Our resident doctors and staff counsel new mothers to donate milk and most mothers volunteer,” said Dr Ajay Chandanwale, dean of BJMC, adding that the aim of this project is to build a robust milk bank.
“The van goes to residences of mothers to collect excess milk which is then delivered at the bank,” said Chandanwale.
The milk collected is used for the treatment of many conditions in newborn babies mainly admitted in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs).
“Mother’s milk has anti-infective properties and it is also a boon for those babies whose mothers find it difficult to feed them,” said Chandanwale.
India has eight such milk banks and the first bank was set-up by Armida Fernandez in November 1989 at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (Sion Hospital), Mumbai.