Breastfeeding is credited as the single biggest influence in decreasing infant mortality and malnutrition, especially in the least developed countries of Africa. Philips AVENT is assisting the SABR (South African Breastmilk Reserve) in meeting the donated breast milk needs of their target population by donating Philips AVENT products that are a necessity for the SABR Feed for Life Initiative.
The Feed for Life Initiative focuses on promoting infant survival in Neonatal Intensive Care Units through human milk banking, the use of donated breast milk and the promotion of breastfeeding. This years’ annual donation, which provides much needed products for the remainder of 2013 and beginning of 2014, consists of 50 Philips AVENT Breast pumps, 200 Via Cups, 30 Bottle brushes and 10 Microwave steam sterilisers.
Philips AVENT, a leader in parenting and baby products, knows that there is nothing better for babies than the health-enhancing benefits of breast milk, “We are advocates of breastfeeding and knowing that we are able to contribute to this wonderful cause is both fitting and rewarding,” says Astrid Anderson from Fountain Medical, distributor of Philips AVENT in South Africa.
Last year, the SABR ran an improved lactation program sponsored by Philips AVENT, which saw Philips AVENT donate 35 breast pumps and 1000 via cups to Tembisa Hospital, in conjunction with the use of donated breast milk supplied by the SABR. The unit saw an average drop in the mortality rate of 19% in a four month period. Today the SABR is trying to raise the funds necessary to set up a full-functioning bank at Tembisa hospital.
The use of donated breast milk is an emergency procedure and is the most essential consumable in the treatment of micro-premature infants. The SABR understands that breastfeeding, access to mothers-own-milk and education are the keys to unlocking infant survival – a key Millennium goal and a priority of South Africa’s Department of Health.
In meeting the donated breast milk needs of their target population; HIV-exposed premature infants born in an under-resourced public sector hospital, the SABR has set about banking donated human milk. As such the SABR coordinates the distribution of safe, pasteurised donor breast milk through its network structure consisting of the SABR head office (coordination facility), milk banks (donor breast milk collection, pasteurisation and storage facilities), SABR corners (interim collection and storage facilities) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Units which partner with us and in which the milk banks are found.
The SABR has successfully brought its human franchising model to a variety of different environments comprising of private and public hospitals in both rural and urban areas. “We have established 11 milk banks in private Netcare and MediClinic hospitals to date, and 13 milk banks in public hospitals where we partner with the Department of Health,” says Stasha Jordan from the SABR. The SABR also facilitate eight in-hospital breast milk collection corners; four in private and four in public hospitals.
Currently, the SABR impacts approximately 1 200 premature infants per annum with significantly reduced mortality rates to those who are artificially fed. The use of donated breast milk not only translates into saved lives but also huge savings for the national healthcare budget.