The benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond basic nutrition for newborns, as breast milk is packed with nutrients and disease-fighting substances that protect babies from various illnesses. The Sassoon General Hospital in Pune is running a human milk bank since 2013, where excess milk donated by lactating mothers is stored to provide supportive care for preterm and sick neonates.
RC Poona, D 3131, has donated a milk collection van to the hospital on August 1 — the first day of World Breast Feeding Week — to support the hospital’s milk bank, which is central to achieving the goals of Every Newborn Action (ENAP) 2014, a global project led by UN agencies to reduce neonatal fatalities.
Handling nearly 25–30 deliveries a day, the hospital facilitates mothers at postnatal ward to donate milk after counselling by resident doctors and staff nurses if the milk produced is in excess of baby’s requirement. Once they are discharged from the hospital, the van will go to the houses of these mothers to collect the excess milk which will be stored in the bank. After pasteurisation, the milk will be utilised to nurture sick babies at the hospital. The van, donated in memory of late Manijeh Framroze Irani and late Framroze Ardeshir Irani, parents of PDG Sam Irani, is equipped with a refrigerator, air conditioner, pumps, inverter and other devices for its effective operation.
“The milk van costing Rs 20.5 lakh enhances the services of the hospital. From just 4 lakh litres a day before the arrival of this facility, the milk bank has now improved its storage count to 16–20 lakh litres,” says DG Prashant Deshmukh. Nearly 100 infants are being saved with timely nursing from the milk bank, says Club President Dharamvir Taneja.