Breastfeeding moms urged to donate milk
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Johannesburg – The Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi has urged breastfeeding mothers to frequently donate milk to the province’s four Breastmilk Banks to help admitted pre-term infants get nutritious meals.
Mokgethi made this call as the global family commemorates the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), observed annually from August 1 to August7. It calls for action by individuals, communities, society, and organisations to promote, protect and support breastfeeding and improve the health of babies.
This year’s commemorations are observed under the theme “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”. The theme puts an emphasis on collaborative efforts between government and other stakeholders in creating a breastfeeding-friendly environment, that protects and supports breastfeeding.
“As society, we have a shared responsibility to promote, protect and support breastfeeding to ensure children receive the best start in life, optimal health now and in future. This cuts across society; we should encourage breastfeeding at our homes, at work and in our communities,” said Mokgethi.
Mokgethi said infant formula does not match up to breastmilk, with breast milk, the baby receives optimal nutrition and there are lifetime health benefits for the child.
She said adults who were breastfed as babies may have a lower risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Currently, there are four public Breastmilk Banks in the Gauteng province that collect and provide milk to pre-term infant patients who are admitted at public hospitals.
This allows mothers who are not able or not available to breastfeed their infants to have access to breast milk.
The Breastmilk Banks are based at Sebokeng Regional Hospital in Sedibeng District, Kalafong Tertiary Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane District, and Leratong Regional Hospital in West Rand District.
Mokgethi said any healthy persons who are breastfeeding can donate milk to their nearest facility or at milk collection sites, such as the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Tshwane District, and Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital in Ekurhuleni District.
She added that individuals who wish to donate will undergo health screening, and for further enquiries the banks can be contacted directly.
Breast Milk Bank contact details:
Sebokeng Regional Hospital: 079 513 5903
Kalafong Tertiary Hospital: 076 772 4696
Steve Biko Academic Hospital: 084 587 5457
Leratong Regional Hospital: 083 306 4101