Spreading the milk of human kindness: Sion hospital docs to help neighbouring states to set up mother's milk banks

Mumbai: Doctors from the neonatal department of the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion, will now train their counterparts in neighbouring states, as well as the rest of Maharashtra to set up milk banks in their hospital premises.

This comes after the human breast milk bank at Sion was recognised as the zonal reference centre in the western region. “Since we are recognised now, it is our responsibility to train and guide doctors from neighbouring states - Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa, to set up facilities,” said Dr Swati Manerkar, assistant professor of the department.

The human milk bank at Sion hospital, established in 1989, is the oldest one in the state and Asia's first to be set up in a civic hospital. It was the brainchild of Dr Jayashree Mondkar, the then head of the department of neonatology.

Dr Manerkar said they have already trained two sets of doctors from Madhya Pradesh. The doctors were trained to maintain laboratory records, process the donated milk and creating awareness about the need for its donation. “We had conducted a three-day programme, where the doctors were taken around the milk bank and shown how to maintain hygiene and use pasteurisation to make it suitable for babies' consumption,” she said.

The training is done in three categories - the primary lactating support unit, secondary lactating management unit and the tertiary comprehensive centre. “The unit will be categorised according to the demand. But we would encourage district hospitals, which always have high footfall, to constitute tertiary centres which would be benefit more newborns,” she added.

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