Human Milk Bank finally opened at Pumwani Maternity

Milk in one of the fridges at the Human Milk Bank opened at Pumwani Maternity Hospital on Friday./COURTESY

Nairobi, KENYA: The Human Milk Bank has finally been opened at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi.

The milk bank which is the first in East Africa will help provide milk for babies born prematurely, those whose mothers died during birth and babies whose mothers cannot produce milk.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko launched the human milk bank at the hospital on Friday, with a promise that that the new facility will greatly improve efforts to end cases of maternal deaths at Pumwani Maternity Hospital

Measuring bottles to be used at the facility./COURTESY

“I am happy that this project has finally become a success. My County Government is committed to ensure that this project will be a success to be emulated by other counties and countries in the region,” said Sonko.

The milk bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital will be among over 600 human milk banks globally.

The hospital has a capacity of 150 baby cots, with a daily occupancy of 60 infants.

Out of the average 60 infants per day, 10 to 12 are in need of donor human milk because of different reasons.

Milk processing machine at the facility

Speaking during the launch, Sonko urged health workers at the hospital to adhere to guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health for protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and access to donor human milk to vulnerable infants.

“Health experts at Pumwani Hospital are now required to ensure that the milk is well screened and free from viruses that can be transmitted to the infants,” stated the Governor.

The Governor further said his administration targets to set up a Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Pumwani Maternity Hospital as well as have the facility accreditated as a “Baby Friendly Hospital.”

Also at the launch was Department for International Development advisor to Kenya, Tessa Mattholie, expressed optimism that the initiative which is partly funded by the UK government will help Pumwani Maternity Hospital end cases of newborn deaths.

“This is the second human milk bank in Africa and the UK government is proud to be part of the initiative. I want to acknowledge mothers who have started donating human milk to the bank, this is a great move that will help save babies especially those born prematurely and those abandoned by their mothers,” she said.

Speaking during the event Nairobi Health CEC Mohammed Dagane said the Nairobi County Government will extend the initiative to other county hospitals to boost efforts to end child mortality rates.