SEEING the importance of the availability of milk for infants, the Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capital (RCBSC) continues to maintain the only established milk bank in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BHGMC).
Dr. Virgilio Bautista, RCBSC charter president, said that at present, there is a sufficient number of milk supply at BGHMC, which services the Baguio area.
Bautista stressed the need for mothers to be taught and trained on the importance donating infant milk.
“Donating mothers must follow the health procedures set by the Department of Health (DOH) because it is not only the equipment that is critical but also on how it is extracted, the processing is not so complicated but it is on how to teach the mothers on how to store or to harvest the milk from their breasts into the bottles that have been pre-sanitized before being stated to the milk bank,” Bautista said.
In April this year, the Department of Health (DOH) came out with guidelines for the successful and safe establishment and implementation of human milk banks (HMB) aiming to strengthen promotion of breastfeeding.
The concept of human milk banking is especially critical in situations when breastfeeding directly from the mother is not possible, such as babies in difficult conditions, sickness or when the mother died.
DOH said pasteurized milk is also needed during emergencies that would answer a temporary need only until the infant can directly breastfeed from the mother.
DOH formulated the manual in coordination with local experts who have experience in human milk banking.
“The milk bank is available for those needing it, there will be difficulty in transporting this to other places in the region. We chose BGH because it does not only service the Cordillera Region but Regions 1, 2 and some parts of Region 3. From the figures that we were furnished by BGH, around 80 percent of patients giving birth at the hospital are not from Baguio and that’s how far we are serving the communities,” Bautista said.
The health department continues to promote exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of an infant.
RCBSC recently donated milk bank equipment to help in reducing 50 percent spoilage of babies milk to only 20 percent.