The day we received the gift of life in this world our parents loved us dearly, most especially our mother. The time when we’re still unborn, our mother would be very cautious in her pregnancy to make sure of her safe delivery on 37 weeks. The adequate number of weeks for a baby to be born.
When the mother delivered her baby safely and at an exact number of weeks, excitement and joys to family members cannot be contained. Everyone is sharing their photos at social media of a newborn, fragile, helpless, and with cuteness overload of the newest addition to the family. First timer mothers tirelessly posted daily development of her healthy baby at social media as her way of sharing this good news to everyone.
But not all newly born babies share the same fate. Circumstances and unfortunate happened to other pregnant women, they deliver their baby in unsought time as a preemie that needs medical attention. Preterm babies confined in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until such time they are fully developed.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) countries with a high rate of prematurely born babies are from Asia and South Africa. The top ten countries with the greatest numbers of preterm birth are India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, America, Bangladesh, Philippines, Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil. Around 300,000 preterm babies are born in the country yearly. Prematurity and preterm birth complications are the leading causes of death for children below five years old.
Premature babies born before 37 weeks old of pregnancy and low at birth weight are at risk of various health problems both short term and long term. They cannot tolerate taking formula milk because their stomach isn’t developed yet. Breast milk and breastfeeding is the only alternative and option to feed premies to fully recover in this condition. However, some newly give birth mum is incapable of giving milk to her baby. Some parents asked around for possible breast milk donors, but the question about safety raise. The next best solution is from pasteurized donor human milk from a milk bank.
Studies show that breast milk significantly reduces the chances of premature baby getting infected with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and improve the health of a fragile baby. Benefits of human breast milk are for babies optimum growth, immune function, and development at minimal cost to the family. Human breast milk feed infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) have fewer severe infections.
Human Breast Milk Bank acts as a substitute when a mother cannot provide her milk. Creating this so-called bank of life is raising awareness to the community of moms who will share voluntarily and enthusiastically their breast milk on helping another family get the same benefits that their baby has been getting.
Other beneficiaries of human milk bank are infants suffering from mal-absorption, feeding intolerance, congenital anomalies, immunologic deficiencies, postoperative surgical conditions, etc.
Potential beneficiaries of human milk bank are infants who lost their moms when they were born, babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, and infants whose hometowns have been stricken by calamity. A first timer mum friend of mine experienced to breastfed twins while she was at the hospital in Puerto Princesa City because the mother of the newly born twins passed away after giving birth. The father of the twin boys looking for possible donors in the city but found none. My friend volunteered to breastfed the babies, considering that she has also a newborn baby to feed but she did it anyway.
Human Milk Bank facilities need to follow the strict screening, processing, and testing guidelines to ensure that the human milk bank is safe. Only qualified donors can donate breast milk, they are lactating mothers with babies under six months old who are not yet weaned. They will undergo screening for infections that may pass into milk and check donor health conditions if they regularly take medicines including herbal medicine.
For a BETTER, reliable, safe, and healthy breast milk, a creation and seeking support to pass a bylaw of human milk bank in Palawan is a target beneficiary of Wow si Mom 2019, a Mother’s Day celebration to be held at NCCC Mall Palawan on May 12, 2019. JCI Puerto Princesa Oil in partnership with NCCC Mall Palawan and supported by Palawan Daily News organized a one kilometer fun run of mother and child (9-15 years old above of kids) tandem dub as Amos Ta Run, Mom!, proceeds of the event will go to the awareness and partnered pediatric clinic for human milk bank, a so-called bank of life. Wow si Mom is a banner project of JCI Puerto Princesa Oil conceptualized to align at JCI Philippines National Project “Pinay Power”.