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Youth for Seva partners with govt to run milk bank for new born babies in Hyderabad

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Dhaatri, a milk bank opened at Niloufer Hospital, to address requests for breast milk from today

Buoyed by the findings of the State’s lowered infant mortality rate, Telangana seeks to reduce it further by establishing milk banks.

On Friday, a 2,200 square-foot milk bank was inaugurated at Niloufer Hospital. Having already commenced the collection, the bank would address requests for breast milk beginning Saturday. Personnel manning the bank estimate that a few hundred neonates at Niloufer Hospital alone would need expressed milk every day. In its early stages, the facility can meet the needs of 15 to 20 babies, informed Santosh Kumar Bharadawaj, executive director of the milk bank, named Dhaatri.

At the facility, dubbed the largest of its kind in the country, mothers with oversupply of milk or those who cannot breastfeed after giving birth, can express milk for preservation, lasting as long as six months. Telangana has managed to lower its infant mortality rate by three points to 31 per 1,000 live births in 2016, according to the recently-released annual estimates of Sample Registration System. The World Health Organisation holds that exclusive breastfeeding, initiated within the first hour of birth, helps reduce infant mortality rate by preventing several illness among infants and neonates.

However, expressed breast milk is considered the next best option for babies who cannot be breastfed, Dr. Bharadwaj informed. The Niloufer milk bank, at its full capacity, can provide breast milk for 300 babies in a day if 50 women contribute.

Special Chief Secretary to the government’s Health and Family Welfare Department, Rajeshwar Tiwari, said milk banks were part of the State’s initiative to further improve healthcare for neonates and infants in Telangana’s public hospitals.

“We have plans to start three more milk banks and have received sanction for them. The public health data will soon tell us where these banks have to be set up,” Mr. Tiwari said, adding that the number of births in hospitals, among other factors, would dictate the establishment of milk banks. Nalgonda District Hospital is likely to have one.

The government plans to set up milk banks in public-private partnership with entities boasting expertise in setting up and running the milk banks. Dhaatri Milk Bank, for instance, would be operated by the government’s private partners, Sushena Health Foundation and Youth for Seva, for four years, before the operations are transferred to the State.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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