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A first-of-its-kind human milk bank is all set to be inaugurated by Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Friday, February 5.
Called 'Nectar of Life', the facility will come up at Kochi's Ernakulam general hospital to ensure availability of breast milk for newborns who are not being breastfed by their own mothers due to several reasons including sickness, insufficient production of the breast milk or untimely death.
According to media reports, the Rotary Club of Cochin Global has played a key role in setting up the unit. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the state health department and the club regarding the matter last year.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Madhav Chandran, former Governor of Rotary District 3201 who reportedly came up with the idea said, "Though the concept had come to India 32 years ago, Kerala did not have a milk bank till now. This is where Rotary Club took the lead to bring the project to the state with two such breast milk banks -- one in Ernakulam and the other at Jubilee Medical Mission Hospital in Thrissur."
The paper also reported that each unit was set up at a cost of ₹35 lakh and consisted of pasteurization unit, refrigerators, deep freezers, RO plant, sterilizing equipment and computers.
Reports have highlighted that the operating procedure regarding collecting, preserving the milk and providing it to needy children will be ensured as per government guidelines. The collected milk can be stored up to 6 months safely in the bank if needed before it is given to an infant.
Additionally, in the beginning, the milk will be provided free of cost to the babies admitted in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. Later, a network of hospitals for multiple collections and safe distribution points will be planned.
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