Kenya to have breast milk bank to help vulnerable newborns

Kenya will open a new breast milk bank this week to feed newborns who cannot get their mothers’ breast milk.

The facility will be set up at Pumani Maternity Hospital, located in east of Nairobi.

South Africa is the only other African country that has such a bank.

The milk will be collected from lactating mothers who have milk to spare.

The mothers will be screened, express their milk, which is processed, pasteurised and stored.

The Pumwani hospital has installed a pasteuriser that can hold 9.4 million litres, two fridges and four freezers with a 240-litre capacity, according to The Star newspaper.

“We will have a very good cold chain system during the storage to ensure as soon as the milk is out of the pasteuriser it goes straight to the fridges and freezers,” the paper quoted Nairobi county nutrition coordinator Esther Kwamboka as saying.

“We have breast milk substitutes such as formula, breast milk fortifiers and other products. With human milk, we will have fewer cases of intolerance.”

The World Health Organisation recommends that when a mother is not able to feed her baby, donated human milk should be used.

Authorities hope the breast milk bank will help improve health and nutrition among vulnerable children in Kenya.