GUWAHATI, Dec 8 - In a path breaking initiative in the field of neonatal care in the North East, Assam is going to have its first human milk bank to store pasteurised breast milk at the Satribari Christian Hospital here.
The milk bank, to be operational from December 9, will also be the first of its kind in the North East and 15th in the entire country.
Despite mushrooming of neonatal intensive care units (NICU) across the State, the need for sufficient human milk to provide adequate nutritional support to premature babies or newborn babies with low birth weight is palpable in the region.
While many NICUs ask new mothers to pump their breast milk twice or three times a day and give it to the NICUs, proper pasteurisation and banking of breast milk is yet to be developed even in the capital city Guwahati.
�We all know breast milk is best for the baby. It is not only species-specific, it is also baby-specific. But many a time, getting enough human milk for tiny babies is difficult for various reasons including the mother�s sickness or inability to produce sufficient milk for psychological stress, etc. The pressure further mounts on a mother if the baby is admitted in the NICU,� said Dr Devajit Kumar Sharma, paediatric and neonatal intensivist at the Satribari Christian Hospital.
�So the next best option for such a baby is pasteurised donor milk stored in a milk bank. In such a bank, we collect milk from the donor mother who has enough milk and is willing to donate, pasteurise it and then store it in a deep freeze. We can store milk in such a freeze for six months and up to six years,� he added.
The milk bank has been set up with help from Rotary Club, district 5240 USA. �We are especially thankful to Dr Debashish Das, governor, Rotary Club for helping us achieve our dream,� Dr Sharma said.