AFTER SETTING up the human milk bank in its paediatrics department in 2013, the BJ Medical College (BJMC) and Sassoon General Hospital is now planning to set up a human milk research laboratory for further studies and research.
The human milk bank has, so far, provided human milk to an average of 3,963 newborns per year.
The milk has been collected from 3,450 mothers, willing to donate for the benefit of newborns, who were pre-term low birth weight, sick and orphaned, admitted in the 59 bedded level III newborn intensive care unit of Sassoon hospital.
The milk bank has helped decrease neonatal mortality and the use of formula milk. Mothers undergo blood investigations to confirm that they are infection-free before donation.
Dr Ajay Chandanwale, dean of BJMC and joint director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, Mumbai, said mothers who donated milk received incentives in the form of chikki that encouraged them to donate milk again and was also beneficial towards maternal health as it increased the milk output.
To date, the human milk bank has achieved an average collection of 415 litres per year, and to increase the output, the Sassoon hospital also started collecting human milk from outside with the help of the human milk van, started in August 2016.
The human milk van has collected an average of 65 litres of milk per year to date.
According to Dr Chandanwale, the paediatrics department has even started a separate room in the out-patient department to collect milk from mothers who come for immunisation or routine care of their children, collection of which is 21 litres per year.
From June 2017, the Sassoon hospital started donating milk from the human milk bank to the orphanage run by Society of Friends of Sassoon Hospitals (SOFOSH) located on the hospital campus. Its average donation is 52 litres per year. Recently, a US-based software engineer, during a 10-day professional visit to Pune, donated seven litres of breast milk to the human milk bank.