Maiden Breast Milk Bank Opened in Philippine Capital

by Rajashri on Aug 17 2008 12:10 PM

The first ever breast milk bank is now open in Manila, the Philippines capital.

The country's first community milk bank - meant to help sick newborn babies who are too weak to suck breasts or mothers who can't immediately breastfeed their children - was opened on Aug 15.

On the bank's opening day, around 200 mothers donated at least five ounces of breast milk at Guadalupe Nuevo Barangay Hall in the capital, reports Xinhua.

The breast milk was collected using a manual breast pump for at least 15 minutes per donator.

According to local news network GMA News, Medela - a supplier of post-natal care equipment - donated 10 manual breast pumps worth 1,800 pesos (40 U.S. dollars) each.

The network said that the milk collected from each mother would be stored in a sterilized container, transferred to a cooler, and sent to a local hospital.

The hospital maintains a milk bank, which has pasteurizing equipment, and three freezers that can preserve the milk for up to six months.

Senator Pia S. Cayetano, who led the opening, said the objective to start the bank is to revive the dying practice of breastfeeding.

"The idea is to tell moms who are breastfeeding to take it a step forward, to help other moms who cannot immediately breastfeed," Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said.

Cayetano has drafted a bill to require the establishment of human milk banks in hospitals to provide maternity services.

The bill has passed the third and final reading in the Senate.