ESTABILSHMENT OF A BREASTMILK BANK FOR NAMIBIA
Every year, some 1 500 prematurely-born and 500 full-term babies are admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Windhoek’s Central Hospital. Many of these are HIV-exposed, with severely ill mothers who are no longer able to produce sufficient milk to feed their children – a situation a great number of healthy mothers also find themselves in. To add to the problem, many mothers have other children to take care of and therefore cannot spend the full time in hospital, nor can they afford to commute to feed their babies. Furthermore, the situation of overcrowded hospitals is common knowledge, and since many of the children are unable to develop sufficient resistance due to a lack of mother’s milk, this contributes to a significantly higher incidence of infection and, ultimately, death.
In recognition of this, most countries the world over – be they in developed or less developed regions – have established breastmilk banks to alleviate the situation. In principle, such breastmilk banks operate on a system similar to blood donation. Mothers who have breastmilk to spare, donate this to the bank, where it is pasteurized and stored for later distribution to needy infants.
Namibia’s first breastmilk bank is to be established in March this year. Located at Windhoek’s Mediclinic, the physical infrastructure is already in place, while the funding for the necessary equipment has been secured and this is to be installed in the course of the next two months. A board consisting mainly of health professionals has already appointed, and the actual operations will be overseen by a specialist neonatologist and a qualified midwife.
Given the demographics of the target group, the objective of the breastmilk bank is to operate on a nonprofitmaking basis, keeping costs as low as possible. With the cost of premises and equipment already covered, this leaves day-to-day running costs, and it is for this reason that we approach you.
Should you see your way open to assist us in whatever manner to ensure the survival of more of Namibia’s vulnerable children, however small that contribution might be, we would appreciate your assistance.
MAKE A DONATION
For contributions in kind, please contact: Prof C. Pieper +264 61 224 564 (Office hours)
Birgit Mayer +264 81 129 2641 (After 13:00pm)
BECOME A REGULAR DONAR
Financial contributions can be paid into our bank account:
Acc. no.: 8006531861