Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Donor human milk efforts intensify in the Philippines

Donor human milk banking is intensified in this country as part of its long battle to boost breastfeeding rates.

IRIN Asia | PHILIPPINES: Banking breast milk to save lives
Photo: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN
A mother breastfeeds one of her twin babies at Jose Fabella Medical Hospital
MANILA, 13 August 2012 (IRIN) - The Philippine government's state-run breast milk bank is intensifying collection efforts to boost breastfeeding among the poor and help women return to work immediately after giving birth if they want to do so.

Hundreds of women come to have their babies at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, the busiest maternity institution in Manila, the capital, where more than 12 million people live. Many women are barely able to afford even the minimal payment, and to help cover their costs some of them donate breast milk to the hospital’s milk bank, which is used to feed babies whose mothers have lactation problems.

Esmeraldo Ilem, head of the hospital's family planning unit, said the milk is also sold at up to US$10 for four litres to other hospitals and individuals, with mothers as a first priority. “Even hospitals in far-flung areas or provinces come here to buy milk from us," Ilem told IRIN. "[For instance,] when a mother dies in a hospital [where there is no milk bank, the family] comes here to source the milk."... more

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