Projects

Strengthening Human Milk Banking: A Resource Toolkit for Establishing and Integrating Human Milk Banks

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Among all health interventions, breastmilk offers one of the greatest opportunities to prevent death in young children, according to research published by the World Health Organization and medical journals such as The Lancet. Human milk banks (HMBs) provide a lifesaving alternative for high-risk babies who lack access to their own mother’s milk. Yet until recently, no universal standards for establishing and operating safe, quality-controlled and integrated HMBs existed.

With a donation of approximately CHF 1.2 million from the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF), the Geneva-based Foundation for Appropriate Technologies in Health (FATH) – including its parent PATH – led a group of international experts to develop Strengthening Human Milk Banking: A Resource Toolkit for Establishing and Integrating Human Milk Banks, the comprehensive package of standards and best practices to guide implementation of HMBs as integrated programmes within existing newborn and nutrition programming.

“Our vision is to ensure equitable access to human milk for all infants.” – Kiersten Israel-Ballard, Dr.P.H., Associate Director Maternal, Newborn and Child Health/Nutrition, PATH

Customisable for application across a range of geographies, the tools are free of charge and intended to ensure quality, safety, efficacy and sustainability in HMBs. Their creators hope they will help to protect and promote breastfeeding and support the pivotal role HMBs play in increasing global access to breastmilk.

Please download Strengthening Human Milk Banking: A Resource Toolkit for Establishing and Integrating Human Milk Banks for free here, and find further information about human milk banking here.

Further reading

Tyebally Fang M, Chatzixiros E, Grummer-Strawn L, Engmann C, Israel-Ballard K, Mansen K, et al. Developing global guidance on human milk banking. Bull World Health Organ. 2021;99(12):892–900. DOI: 10.2471/BLT.21.286943

Vesel L, Spigel L, Behera JN, Bellad RM, Das L, Dhaded S, et al. Mixed-methods, descriptive and observational cohort study examining feeding and growth patterns among low birthweight infants in India, Malawi and Tanzania: the LIFE study protocol. BMJ Open. 2021;11(12):e048216. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-048216

Mondkar J, Chawla D, Sachdeva RC, Manerkar S, Shanbhag S, Khan A, et al. Impact of mother-baby friendly initiative plus approach on improving human milk feeding for neonates in hospital: a quality improvement before-and-after uncontrolled study. Eur J Pediatr [Internet]. 2021. DOI: 10.1007/s00431-021-04141-9

Shenker N, Staff M, Vickers A, Aprigio J, Tiwari S, Nangia S, et al. Maintaining human milk bank services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: A global response. Matern Child Nutr. 2021;17(3):e13131.DOI: 10.1111/mcn.13131

Mansen K, Nguyen TT, Nguyen NQ, Do CT, Tran HT, Nguyen NT, et al. Strengthening newborn nutrition through establishment of the first human milk bank in Vietnam. J Hum Lact. 2021;37(1):76–86. DOI: 10.1177/0890334420948448

Shenker N, Virtual Collaborative Network of Human Milk Banks and Associations. Maintaining safety and service provision in human milk banking: a call to action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2020;4(7):484–5. DOI: 10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30134-6

Israel-Ballard K, Cohen J, Mansen K, Parker M, Engmann C, Kelley M, et al. Call to action for equitable access to human milk for vulnerable infants. Lancet Glob Health. 2019;7(11):e1484–6. DOI: 10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30402-4

Kimani-Murage EW, Wanjohi MN, Kamande EW, Macharia TN, Mwaniki E, Zerfu T, et al. Perceptions on donated human milk and human milk banking in Nairobi, Kenya. Matern Child Nutr. 2019;15(4):e12842. DOI: 10.1111/mcn.12842

Chugh Sachdeva R, Mondkar J, Shanbhag S, Manuhar M, Khan A, Dasgupta R, et al. A qualitative analysis of the barriers and facilitators for breastfeeding and kangaroo mother care among service providers, mothers and influencers of neonates admitted in two urban hospitals in India. Breastfeed Med. 2019;14(2):108–14. DOI: 10.1089/bfm.2018.0177