VIDEO: Mike Sonko launches the first human milk bank in East Africa
“I am happy that this project has finally become a success. My County Government is committed to ensure that this project will be a success to be emulated by other counties and countries in the region,” said Sonko. The milk bank at Pumwani Maternity Hospital will be among over 600 human milk banks globally. The hospital has a capacity of 150 baby cots, with a daily occupancy of 60 infants. Out of the average 60 infants per day, 10 to 12 are in need of donor human milk because of different reasons.
Speaking during the launch, Sonko urged health workers at the hospital to adhere to guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health for protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and access to donor human milk to vulnerable infants. “Health experts at Pumwani Hospital are now required to ensure that the milk is well screened and free from viruses that can be transmitted to the infants,” stated the Governor. The Governor further said his administration targets to set up a Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Pumwani Maternity Hospital as well as have the facility accreditated as a “Baby Friendly Hospital.”
Also at the launch was Department for International Development advisor to Kenya, Tessa Mattholie, expressed optimism that the initiative which is partly funded by the UK government will help Pumwani Maternity Hospital end cases of newborn deaths. “This is the second human milk bank in Africa and the UK government is proud to be part of the initiative. I want to acknowledge mothers who have started donating human milk to the bank, this is a great move that will help save babies especially those born prematurely and those abandoned by their mothers,” she said. Speaking during the event Nairobi Health CEC Mohammed Dagane said the Nairobi County Government will extend the initiative to other county hospitals to boost efforts to end child mortality rates.