Pune: The four years of functioning of the milk bank at Sassoon General Hospital (SGH), Pune has been a boon to over 10,000 infants. These infants could not have grown up in a healthy way had this milk not been available.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), receiving milk from a human milk bank should be the first alternative for a baby whose mother is unable to breastfeed.
However, many hospitals in the country advice the use of infant formula. The supplements are also advised as human milk is not sufficiently available.
In the case of the city-based hospital, what should be further noted is that around 17,000 mothers have donated their milk to the milk bank. This has benefited around 200 mothers of new born and premature babies, as these mothers were not able to produce sufficient milk or any amount of milk at all for their infants.
Dr Ajay Chandanwale, Dean of Sassoon General Hospital, Pune, said that the human milk bank was started by the hospital in November 2013. “Human milk helps in protecting baby from medical conditions like necrotising enterocolitis. It also helps in building immunity in the child. Around 4,000 kids have been able to live a healthy life because of this milk bank till date,” said Chandanwale.
He also added that there is a need to create awareness around the issue so that more and more mothers come forward to donate milk. The hospital staff has been consistently counselling mothers so that more donors agree to donate.
Kamala Nehru Hospital had recently become the first hospital run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to start a human milk van. It has started functioning since August 2016. Sassoon Hospital has tied up with Kamala Nehru Hospital and Sonawane Hospital for the supply of milk by these donor mothers.