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.