Related Topics: Public Health, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)


  • The Breast Milk Bank project titled Nectar of Life proposed by the Neonatology Forum (NNF), Kerala has got support from the Rotary International to set up the first bank in Ernakulam.
  • The Indian Medical Association, Kochi, has joined with NNF-Kerala to open breast milk banks in the Ernakulam District General Hospital and the Jubilee Mission Hospital, Thrissur.


About Breast Milk Bank

  • There are many mothers who are not able to produce breast milk for various medical reasons.
  • A breast milk bank is expected to provide solutions to all such babies who required intensive care at birth or are not able to be breastfed immediately for various other reasons.
  • Pasteurised donor human milk from a milk bank helps the baby to develop and also reassures parents that their baby is receiving the best substitute possible.
  • Any lactating mother can donate to the bank.
  • The milk stored in the bank will be pasteurised and would follow the international guidelines for safety.
  • The Bank helps the baby not just with the feed, but gives protection from many infections because of its inherent property to provide immunity to the infant.


Following WHO Guidelines

  • World Health Organisation has said that breast milk is “tailor made” for human infants.
  • If for some reason, mother is not able to feed the infant, her milk should be expressed and fed, according to WHO.
  • The Neonatology Forum had been following this diktat and insists that the newborns are aggressively breastfed in the first hour.



  • The report, ‘Capture The Moment’, by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), says that delaying breastfeeding after birth can be life threatening.
  • The UNICEF-WHO report ‘Nurturing The Health And Wealth Of Nations: The Investment Case For Breastfeeding’ notes that India, along with Indonesia, China, Mexico and Nigeria, accounts for more than 236,000 child deaths every year due to inadequate breastfeeding.
  • Only 41.5% of infants in India receives breast milk within the first hour of birth.


Link between Breastfeeding and Under-Five Mortality Rate

  • The composite score is given for states based on percentage values of the following indicators: initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding until six months, and complementary feeding until nine months.
  • Most States with an above average score have a lower under-five child mortality rate while States with a poor composite score tend to have a higher under-five child mortality rate (per 1,000 live births).
  • Uttar Pradesh has a composite score of 3.32, the lowest, and under-five mortality rate of 78, the highest, in India. Manipur has the highest composite score (7.27) and is one of the best performing States for under-five mortality rate (26).


[Source: The Hindu, Livemint]

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