Breast milk bank
Our Breast Milk Bank has been up and running in the neonatal unit at Bamenda Regional Hospital since 2006.
Immunisation clinic where Constance collects milk for the Breast Milk Bank.
The premature babies that enter the neonatal unit are in serious need of nutrition and in some cases their mothers are unable to breast-feed. Sometimes this is simply because the babies are so premature that their mothers' bodies aren't ready to produce milk. However in some cases, mothers may be HIV positive or in recovery from serious complications during birth.
Breast milk is especially important for babies who are sick or premature. Giving these babies breast milk increases their chances of survival and helps their long-term development. Did you know that breast milk contains at least 400 essential nutrients for babies?
Constance has been our Breast Milk Bank nurse for a while now, and says the best part of her job is dealing directly with newborn babies and being able to give them vital, sometimes life saving, breast milk. Constance starts by educating the mothers about breast milk at the immunisation clinic.
Women who choose to donate receive Ovaltine and cake as a small thank you. Their donations are sent to the lab for testing and those that pass the rigorous testing are brought back to Constance for pasteurising and sterilising. Donated breast milk is then frozen, ready for use when a premature baby needs it, often to survive their first few hours of life.
“I explain to them the many good things about breast milk but also warn them about the danger if you are HIV positive. I explain to the mothers that we have babies in the nursery who need breast milk, because it is the best milk.” Constance - our Breast Milk Bank Nurse