By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
A Medical Doctor and the CEO/Founder of The Milk Booster Breastfeeding Company, Chinenye Obinwanne -Ezewike has urged new born mothers to feed babies with breast milk in order to make enormous progress in child survival and reduce neonatal mortality rate.
Obinwanne-Ezewike disclosed this at the official launch of first milk bank in Lagos.
She stated that the decision to influence new born families is based on the decline in the survival rate, that a greater focus on newborns infant is urgently needed.
The Medical Doctor, revealed that it is cheaper to invest in breast feeding than the sickness that would arise from a lack of it, adding that yearly, Nigeria loses billions of Naira to this. Obinwanne stated that breastmilk and baby formula are not equivalent in nutrition value, adding that World Health Organisation (WHO), has listed donor breast milk as the second best nutrient for a child before baby formula.
She further stated that one of the motivation behind this was mothers within her community constantly seeking breast milk for premature babies.
Obinwanne-Ezewike recounted an experience where a mother who had triplets died and the babies needed breast milk but before they could go through the processes to get the milk across, some of the babies died.
She added that the process involves screening the mother of communicable diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis and HTLV. “If she is negative on all five tests, then the breast milk is collected, processed and pasteurized. It would equally go through another testing before it would be acceptable for consumption safety and then dispatched to babies.
Dr. Obinwanne-Ezewike said it would cost over N20,000 to screen a mother, which costs will be covered by the organization, noting that every woman who needs it can get it.
However, she noted it would be dispatched based on priority, starting with sick pre-term babies, healthy pre-term babies and healthy babies that are sick, that is, babies that were carried full term.
Obinwanne-Ezewike explained that the milk bank would run like blood banks where women can come in to donate milk.
On how to get donors, she said the firm would increase its efforts in educating mothers with surplus breast milk on the importance of volunteering donating their milk.
“We don’t sell breast milk that’s why every mom is volunteering. We don’t sell breast milk that’s why every mom is volunteering. We would be paying for the screening and sustainability of the facility. We would be charging a service fee for those that would get the milk. We hope to get more support from partners,” she stated.
“Based on her research, Nigerian mothers are happy and willing to donate breast milk than to receive and the mothers in demand, are first, those with pre mature babies, she said.
She, therefore, encouraged women to support the course, stressing the intentions to address cultural shocks that come with accepting another mom’s milk.
She promised that the firm would focus on educating and sensitizing women on importance of babies having human milk than cow milk, and urged the government to offer support through funding to help reduce the number of premature mortality rate as Nigeria ranks third is the world.
Moreso, Obinwanne-Ezewike said the centre can produce 135 litres of milk on a weekly basis, and expressed hope to increase to 200 litres to reach more babies within the next three months.
A Lecturer at the Department of Nursing, University of Lagos, (UNILAG), Mobolaji Olajide, described milk bank as an important initiative in Nigeria for mothers who are unable to produce enough breast milk, such as surrogate mothers and others.
Olajide highlighted the need to create more awareness on the benefits for more Nigerians to accept it.