Breast Milk Bank
Everyday, 3,000 to 4,000 infants die because they are denied access to adequate breast milk (UNICEF, 1997). An orphanage was started to care for six of these abandoned and orphaned babies. The ministry also offers HIV prevention programs, teaches adoptive parents how to integrate AIDS orphans into their families, and runs a breast milk bank—the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. The breast milk bank screens donors for HIV and other health threats before allowing women to donate milk. After the tests, the bank gives a breast pump and containers to the donor. She then freezes the milk and deposits the container at satellite collection points. Once a week, a staff member collects the milk and brings it back to the transitional home where it is pasteurized. This precaution eliminates HIV and other viruses such as hepatitis. The milk is refrozen until a baby needs it. All of the orphanage’s babies are fed breast milk for their first year. This natural antibiotic called breast milk gives little lives the kick they need to make a healthy start.