A smart phone gadget lifts the breast milk bank.

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A smart phone gadget lifts the breast milk bank.

Breast milk is a great way to help your mother’s inability to breastfeed. If you don’t know, breast milk is better than formula for supporting your baby’s immune system, especially if breast milk is too early or underweight.

Banks are easy to run in some parts of the world. In the United States, donors place breast milk in ice-filled coolers and transport them to central Banks. Pasteurize the milk to kill the bacteria and then mail it to the donor through a refrigerated fedex or UPS truck. The 16 U.S. Banks distribute 3 million ounces of breast milk nationwide each year.

Developing countries are another matter. In South Africa, for example, most milk Banks are in cities like Cape Town, but transporting a bottle to a rural clinic can be tricky. In the rainy season, the road is washed away. Clinics don’t have the resources to pay for refrigerated vehicles.

This is where the world’s milk Banks are particularly important. Every year, 800,000 children under the age of five die from unavailability of breast milk – one in eight babies dies, most of them in developing regions.

One solution is to establish Banks in remote areas. With a bank in Cape Town, Louise ferguson to organize and guide the milk affairs (Louise Goosen) said: “we hope that in rural hospital library have more milk, they can be collected from their patients and mother milk.

However, the cost of a commercial device for pasteurization could range from $10,000 to $45,000, which is far out of reach for rural clinics.

Now there is a simple device called FoneAstra, which can be pasteurized when combined with a smartphone, so the bank can be almost anywhere. The cost is only about $1,000.

The FoneAstra base is fitted with a wire that connects the temperature probe to a hot bath. A nurse collected a milk donation and put the bottle in a water bath. When she starts the phone app, FoneAstra will show step-by-step instructions on how to pasteurize breast milk.

It’s more complicated than you think. Boil over heat, and heat destroys important proteins. Too cold, life threatening bacteria may continue to exist.

The smartphone app also prints each donated bar code label so the nurse can track each donation to prevent problems.

In 2011, PATH, a Seattle non-profit group, began testing FoneAstra in two clinics in durban, South Africa. The device could triple the amount of milk collected by donors.

This is an important result. Due to poor sanitation and infectious diseases, the lack of breast milk in developing countries is more serious. A study found that babies who were not breastfed were 10 times more likely to die than those who were breastfed in Ghana, India and Peru.

The number of babies at risk may be high. South Africa has more than one million premature babies every year. “We have noticed that in South Africa neonatal wards baby cannot access about 25% of their mother’s milk,” in the PATH of maternal and child health care department of Kiersten – Israel ballard, which cooperate with technical experts, says rohit Chaudhri FoneAstra at Washington university development.

Next year, the PATH will cooperate with the human milk Banks association of South Africa, will FoneAstra away from durban, five locations across, as initiated by the provincial health department of part of a three-year initiative, to promote breastfeeding.

Unlike commercial pasteurizers, FoneAstra can only be produced in small batches of about 25 ounces, enough to meet the daily needs of most babies.

“One of FoneAstra’s great strengths is the ability to complete a cycle in 17 minutes, rather than two hours of a commercial bf cycle,” says Penny Reimers of HMBASA. “But normal breastfeeding has to happen, or we don’t have enough milk for these Banks.”

FoneAstra can also help. “Moving Banks into rural communities can make people aware that breast donation is a choice,” says Noah Perin, a health innovation officer at PATH health.

Milk’s Mr. Goosen recalled a rural hospital near Cape Town, which had established a milk bank with FoneAstra. “To our surprise, their milk Banks increased, and eventually they bought a commercial pasteurizer to match the supply,” he said. “Of course, without FoneAstra, they wouldn’t have started this project at all.”

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