It is the first week of August, so it’s time to celebrate the World Breastfeeding week. Rajasthan celebrates this week to mark its victory in strengthening milk banks across the state. The desert state has created the largest network of 13 milk banks.
“I salute the mothers who have donated their milk. It has helped 5,195 newborns admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These newborns were provided 36,234 units of mothers’ milk (one unit is 30ml),” said Devendra Agarwal, adviser to the state health department for Aanchal Mother’s milk bank project.
Officials informed that about 15,00,680 ml milk has been collected at the 11 milk banks.
The Breastfeeding week aims at spreading awareness about spreading awareness of breastfeeding, precautions and nutrition guidance.
Rabindra Nath Tagore Medical College in Udaipur, 10 milk banks at the district hospitals in Bharatpur, Alwar, Chittorgarh, Beawar, Banswara, Bhilwara, Bundi, Tonk, Baran and Churu, Sawai Man Singh Medical College in Jaipur and Mahatma Gandhi Medical College in Jaipur are the various milk banks spread throughout the state.
“Rajasthan has many firsts to its credit when it comes to mothers’ milk. Rajasthan is the only state to give the right to newborns to mothers’ milk. Rajasthan is also the first to set up mother’s milk storage and distribution center in Ajmer, as excess milk was being received at the centers,” Agarwal said.
The state is also the first to set up a green corridor for transferring mothers’ milk from different milk banks to the storage center in Ajmer.
“The government is serious about controlling the neonatal mortality rate in the state and transportation of mother’s milk to storage center is a step towards it. The government has made arrangements so that the refrigerated van carrying the milk will find a clear route at crossings, toll plazas and will also be diverted through other routes in case of a traffic jam,” added Agarwal.
At about 11 milk banks, the government has managed to have over 8644 units in their stock. This helps mothers who are not able to breastfeed their children due to various issues.
A total of 13,148 mothers were not in a position to breast feed their children. However, the availability of milk banks has ensured continuous milk supply for children.
Additionally, 49,344 mothers were trained and provided assistance to feed their child through counseling services.” By providing mother’s milk, child deaths can be curtailed down by over 22%.
On the back of the massive success of milk banks, chief minister Vasundhara Raje announced seven more mother milk banks for Sirohi, Jalore, Barmer, Rajsamand, Dholpur, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur by the March 31 this year.
Raje-led-government will also set up a green corridor for dispatching and transferring mother’s milk to the storage centre in Ajmer from various other milk bank centres.