The Department of Medical Services (DMS) has launched an appeal that resonates with maternal care and love. The call is simple: ‘Got some surplus breast milk? Share it. Let’s collectively nourish the health of ailing or premature babies who, for various reasons, aren’t privileged to their mothers’ milk.’ The plea resonates with an empathy that serves to solidify this bond we call humanity,” indicated Deputy DMS director-general, Weerawut Imsamran.
Dr. Weerawut unveiled alarming statistics that underscore the urgency of the message. Annually, around 15 million babies, approximately one in every ten infants, are born prematurely worldwide. Regrettably, about one million of these fragile lives are lost each year. One of the sobering realities, often ignored, is the inability of some of these infants’ mothers to sufficiently produce breast milk or complications that hinder them from breastfeeding.
This is where the excess breast milk can make a life-saving difference. “Breast milk donated by healthy mothers is an invaluable nectar, literally packed with all the essential nutrients these infants need to survive and thrive,” said Mr. Weerawut with certainty.
Any woman desiring to donate surplus milk is encouraged to consult her doctor or reach out to the nearest breast milk bank. This is crucial both to the quality and safety of the donated milk. Currently, breast milk banks are located within specific public hospitals, such as Siriraj Hospital and Ramathibodhi Hospital both in Bangkok, and Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen.
Dr. Akarathan Jitnuyanan, the esteemed director of the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health (QSNICH) forming part of the DMS, elaborated on the rigorous measures to ensure optimal milk safety. “Milk banks aren’t just repositories. They’re a facility armored with strict screening processes and stringent storage and delivery protocols to ensure the safest possible milk is transferred to the infants,” explained the director. This milk, he disclosed, is a treasured resource mainly for premature babies weighing under 1,500 grammes and those unwell babies whose mothers, for one reason or another, can’t nurse them.
Potential donors, he clarified, need to be in good health and clear of certain medications. Furthermore, they need to be open to undergoing a blood test and filling out a comprehensive questionnaire which forms part of the risk assessment process. “As much as we value the act of donation, we can’t compromise the infants’ safety,” he finalized.