Makati opens human milk bank
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - March 4, 2013 - 3:54pm

MANILA, Philippines - Makati City on Monday opened the third Department of Health-approved human milk bank in the country.

Located at the Bangkal Health Center at E. Rodriguez Avenue in Barangay Bangkal, the milk bank was opened by Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay. It is the first human milk bank to be operated by a local government unit.

“We are proud to make history once more with the opening of our human milk bank, which is the first such facility to be established and operated by a local government unit in the country,” Binay said.

Binay said the project was particularly significant to him because his youngest daughter Maria Kennely, survived premature birth largely through adequate nourishment from a steady supply of breast milk obtained from milk banks.  His wife Kennely Ann died shortly after giving birth to their fourth child.

“This human milk bank has been put up so that motherless infants in our city and neighboring cities will not be deprived of their rightful share of God’s wonderful gift to every newborn, to every child,” Binay said.

Binay said the Makati milk bank was opened with the support of the DOH, the World Health Organization, and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), a DOH-accredited training institution for the management and operation of milk banks.

“Makati and its people are truly grateful to our partners in putting up this facility, which brings up our community-based breastfeeding advocacy to a more noble level because mothers will have the chance to save lives by donating their breast milk to the milk bank,” Binay said.

Studies show that regular breastfeeding stimulates the mammary glands of lactating mothers and enables them to produce an abundant supply of breast milk that could cover their baby’s needs and still leave much for the milk bank.

Dr. Estela Barrios, officer-in-charge of the Makati Health Department, said the milk bank is fully equipped with imported equipment, including a human milk pasteurizer made in England, a large bio-refrigerator, two large freezers, and an electric dishwasher with sterilizer.

She said the operations of the facility will be handled by six personnel comprised by a doctor, a nurse, two midwives and two medical technologists who all underwent proper training under PCMC, particularly on lactation management and laboratory procedures.

PCMC is a DOH-accredited training institution on the management and operation of human milk banks, and is one of only two health facilities in the country housing a DOH-approved human milk bank.  The other is Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.

Barrios said the Makati Human Milk Bank would be operated according to the WHO manual of operations for human milk banks.

BANGKAL HEALTH CENTER BANK BARANGAY BANGKAL BINAY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DR. ESTELA BARRIOS HUMAN MILK
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