Dr. Raghuram Mallaiah is the
Director, Neonatology at Fortis La Femme and the
co-founder of Amaara, India's first public human milk bank
Amaara started its first public
human milk bank in Delhi to create a better space for infants to thrive
and is now all set to launch its next bank in Bengaluru
Dr. Raghuram Mallaiah spoke to
Medindia about "Amaara"
The Human Milk
Bank Amaara was started in Delhi in 2016 by the Breast Milk Foundation (BMF), which is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing donor
milk to high-risk infants. BMF was co-founded by Dr. Raghuram Mallaiah, Director, Neonatology, Fortis La Femme and co-founder Amaara, and
Dr. Ankit Srivastava co-founder Amaara in 2015 with the aim to establish human
milk banks across India to provide breast milk for the most vulnerable babies.
Human Breast Milk Bank - Interview with Co-Founder of Amaara
milk is the safest and healthiest source of essential nutrients for
infants. A human milk bank is a service that collects the donated human milk,
ensures milk safety and makes it available for all premature and critically-ill
babies. Amaara Human Milk Bank holds high standards for
professionalism in breast milk donation.
‘Human milk bank has been launched in Bengaluru which aims to provide pasteurized human breast milk to premature or critically ill-babies.’
Breast milk is
not only just 'food' that fulfills a newborn's dietary requirements; it
contains antibodies that help in fighting against viruses and
bacteria, lowering the risk of allergies, infections and other illness in the
long run for the child. Breast milk is essential for
the optimal growth and development of full-term babies and more so in the case
recently expanded the initiative, inaugurating its first full-service branch in
Bengaluru. "We hope to open more such branches extending the love and care of
Amaara. Hospitals can contact us for the services and avail them accordingly,"
says Dr. Ankit.
The Human Milk
Bank was inaugurated and supported by Hon. Mr. Ryszard Czarnecki, Vice-President
of the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium.
The following is
an exclusive interview conducted by Medindia with Dr. Raghuram Mallaiah to find
out more details of Amaara and the constructive work Dr. Mallaiah is doing in
motivated you to start the Human Milk Bank 'Amaara'?
In India, the
most prominent contributors to neonatal mortality are prematurity and low birth
weight. Many mothers of vulnerable, hospitalized babies are unable to
breastfeed them. Also, many mothers are unable to
generate sufficient milk for their babies due to their weak health or other
reasons. Donated human milk goes a long way in helping vulnerable babies in our
society and thereby decreasing infant mortality.
2) How do you
motivate mothers to donate breast milk?
encouraging mothers by educating them and creating awareness about this novel idea they can do voluntarily. We also urge more mothers to donate if
experiencing an excess amount of milk to help preemies and high-risk infants.
3) Is it safe
to share human breast milk?
milk is very safe. Before mothers donate their milk, they undergo many
serological tests to check for any illness that could pass through their breast
milk. Each container of milk is then tested for any
harmful pathogens. It is called a medical bank because the donated milk is fed
to the babies only after all the impurities present in the milk are removed.
4) Is donor
breast milk pasteurized?
The donor milk
that is collected might have bacteria and other vulnerabilities. This milk runs
through different cycles; it is pasteurized at 64º C for half an hour to kill
all the pathogens that could be present in the milk,
and then kept in the cold storage before being given to
5) How long
can breast milk be stored?
Breast milk can
be stored in a separate deep freezer for about six months at -20ºC to -25ºC. Breast milk should not be stored
in the freezer door rack.
6) How many
people have you helped so far?
In Delhi, more
than 180-200 premature babies have been fed with the milk from Amaara till
April 2017 and lot of mothers have come forward to donate. In Bengaluru, we
have supplied to 4-5 different hospitals so far.
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