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Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital's human milk bank -- Amrit Kosh -- has the facilities to collect, pasteurise, test, and store safe donor human milk from lactating mothers and then provide it to infants in need.

Aiming to give premature and other at-risk infants access to the vast benefits of breast milk when they need it the most, Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on 19 August inaugurated the Himalayan nation's first-ever human milk bank at a maternity and women’s hospital in Kathmandu.

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Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital's human milk bank -- Amrit Kosh -- has the facilities to collect, pasteurise, test, and store safe donor human milk from lactating mothers and then provide it to infants in need, officials said.

The centre has been established in partnership between the Government of Nepal, the European Union and UNICEF.

“Premature, low birthweight and small for gestational age babies are vulnerable in terms of survival and cognitive development and usually have feeding problems due to their medical conditions," Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital's Director Prof Dr Amir Babu Shrestha said.

According to a press release issued by UNICEF Nepal, the milk bank is an important step towards ensuring baby-friendly health systems and gives premature, low birthweight, and other at-risk infants access to the vast benefits of breast milk when they need it the most.

Each year, an estimated 81,000 premature babies are born in ower-middle-income countries like Nepal. In comparison to infacts of dying in their first month of life, premature and low birth-weight babies face even a greater risk.

According to the Nepal Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (NMICS) 2019, the neonatal mortality rate is 16. Also, the the infant mortality rate is 25 and the under-five mortality rate is 28 per 1,000 live births.

As per to NMICS 2019, only 42 per cent of children under 2 years of age are breast-fed within one hour of birth and 62 per cent of children under six months are exclusively breast-fed in Nepal.

With PTI inputs. 

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