“Premature, low birthweight and small for gestational age babies usually have feeding problems and direct breastfeeding is often not possible. So, the next best alternative is breast milk, preferably from their biological mother,” says Amir Babu Shrestha of Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital.
Such newborns are usually given infant formula milk, which exposes them to risk of infection. Donor human milk is therefore preferred.
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The new Human Milk Bank called Amrit Kosh at the Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital has the facilities to collect, pasteurise, test and store safe donor human milk from lactating mothers and then provide it to infants in need. The centre has been established in partnership with the European Union and UNICEF.
Says EU Ambassador to Nepal Nona Deprez: “We are proud that this tripartite partnership has led to the establishment of Amrit Kosh, we hope that more and more newborns unable to receive their mother’s milk can benefit from breastmilk in protecting their health and supporting their development.”
Nepal’s Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) seeks to improve maternal, adolescent, and child nutrition throughout Nepal by promoting healthy, nutritious, and diversified diets for adolescents, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, infants, and young children. Since 2013, UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Nepal in implementing MSNP, with funding support from the European Union.
“The Human Milk Bank initiative is critical to advancing our joint efforts under Nepal’s Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan to improve child nutrition and particularly to address acute malnutrition of children in Nepal,” says Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative to Nepal.
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