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KH human milk bank upgraded

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The new upgrades will allow the bank to continue serving thousands of infants and their mothers in the Northern Cape.

Executive Director of the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR), Stasha Jordan, handing over crafted maternity packs supplied by Grace Factory, during the launch of their newest milk bank. Picture: South African Breastmilk Reserve

THE HUMAN milk bank facility at the Kimberley Hospital has recently been upgraded.

According to eHealthnews, the project was undertaken by the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR), in partnership with Discovery and the Northern Cape Department of Health.

The upgrades include the installation of an air purification system, new cupboards, fittings, basins and other necessary equipment to ensure that the milk bank meets with all regulations and requirements for sustainable human milk banking.

“We are extremely proud to be launching this revamped facility, and we are grateful for the generous support of Discovery and the provincial Department of Health,” said breastfeeding activist and executive director of the SABR, Stasha Jordan.

“One incredible thing about breast milk is that newborn babies only require a tiny amount for each feeding – 10mls or less. For the most severely ‘micro-premature’ infants, 1ml of breast milk every three hours can make the difference between life and death,” Jordan explained. “This is why we say that every drop counts – that one drop could literally save a baby’s life.”

“Breastfeeding is a vital part of any infant’s development. Hundreds of scientific studies on the subject are unambiguous: breastfeeding a child for the first 12 months of its life is the best way to ensure it grows up healthy,” Jordan added.

The new upgrades will allow the bank to continue serving thousands of infants and their mothers in the Northern Cape.

Maretha le Roux, deputy director of nutrition for the NCDOH, pointed out that according to the South African Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission report, the Northern Cape had the highest rate of exclusive breastfeeding in South Africa.

“While that’s something to celebrate, we can always improve, and facilities like this one allow us to feed vulnerable infants with human milk, which will give them their best start to life,” Le Roux stated.

She explained that exclusive breastfeeding was the best option for all infants. “Many premature infants simply cannot breastfeed optimally” said Le Roux. “This is why facilities like this milk bank is so critical to these vulnerable babies.”