Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Growth in human donor milk banks in the UK and Brazil

Milk banks came up twice today. That's human donor milk banks, that pasteurise expressed breastmilk, primarily for premature infants, who have a higher chance of survival and lower risk of terrible illnesses such as necrotising enterocilitis.

There is a milk bank network in the UK. It was scaled back when HIV first came on the scene. But is growing again now that there is acceptance that the screening and pasteurisation process is safe. Unfortunately they are poorly supported in official budgets and dedicated staff have to resort to fundraising events. It reminds me of the comment about how different the world would be if it was the armed forces that had to hold a raffle or jumble sale if they needed a new piece of equipment.

The milk bank in Chester has just launched a website to provide information on its work and people can make donations via it. See:

I also received a request for the latest situation with the Brazilian milk bank network. In contrast to the UK, concerns about HIV did not result in the network being scaled back, but increased quality controls and steady growth in the network. The National Breastfeeding Conference I attended in May was combined with the first Amazonian Milk Bank Conference with training for those working in, or wanting to set up, milk banks.

The official Brazilian milk bank site is:

The number of milk banks is given at:

This shows 191 milk banks and 34 additional collection centres (which send milk to a partner milk bank).

There are also some figures on litres collection, number of donors and number of recepients at:

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