Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Brazil’s maternal milk banks model for globe

In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, a lab technician shows a couple of containers of frozen donated human milk at the Fernandes Figueira Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A group of American doctors are in Brazil to learn how the country's extensive milk bank system works. With more than 200 such banks nationwide, where breast-feeding women can donate milk that is then pasteurized and used in neo-natal facilities, Brazil has cut down dramatically in infant mortality. Doctors in the U.S. are looking to duplicate Brazil's success. (Source: AP) In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, a lab technician shows a couple of containers of frozen donated human milk at the Fernandes Figueira Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A group of American doctors are in Brazil to learn how the country's extensive milk bank system works. With more than 200 such banks nationwide, where breast-feeding women can donate milk that is then pasteurized and used in neo-natal facilities, Brazil has cut down dramatically in infant mortality. Doctors in the U.S. are looking to duplicate Brazil's success. (Source: AP)
By: Associated Press | Rio De Janeiro | Posted: September 4, 2014 2:03 pm

Thirty years ago, poor Brazilian women were paid to give away their breast milk, leaving their children at risk of malnourishment. Equipment at the few milk collection centers that existed was so costly it limited the country’s ability to expand the program’s reach.

That has changed dramatically, thanks in part to Joao Arigio Guerrade Almeida, a chemist who has turned the Brazilian Milk Bank Network into a model studied by other countries and credited with helping slash infant mortality by two thirds.

“Brazil is really the world leader in milk bank development,” said Dr. Lisa Hammer, a University of Michigan pediatrician who was part of a team visiting the Rio de Janeiro-based network last week.

Relatively rare in much of the world, donating breast milk is common in Brazil, where the network of banks works in much the same way as blood banks — testing, sorting and storing milk used mostly to feed premature infants in neo-natal units.

When a mother is unable to breast feed her baby, due to illness, drug addiction or other problems, the network steps in to offer free milk. Last year, it collected milk from some 150,000 women to nourish about 155,000 babies.

Reaching such success was not easy. Almeida recalled the trouble he saw on his first visit to a Rio milk bank in 1985, at the tail end of the country’s two-decade-long military dictatorship.

In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, American Dr. Lisa Hammer, left, talks with Paloma at the Fernandes Figueira Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A group of American doctors is in Brazil to learn how the country's extensive milk bank system works. Doctors in the U.S., where there are currently fewer than 50 such centers, are looking to duplicate Brazil's success. (Source: AP) In this Aug. 27, 2014 photo, American Dr. Lisa Hammer, left, talks with continued…

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