In a major humanitarian effort, the US-based International Breast Milk Project (IBMP), Quick International Courier and Prolacta Bioscience(®) carried and delivered 5,000 ounces of donor breast milk from Monrovia, California to Cape Town, South Africa, on 10 August. The shipment, the fifth so far to Cape Town, and the first of two this year, will be given to premature, sick and orphaned infants who typically weigh less than three pounds and receive roughly one ounce of milk per day.
While underscoring the importance of breastfeeding, the Cape Town-based non-profit, Milk Matters, distributes donor breast milk to over 23 major hospitals in the province, helping save the lives of premature babies. Commending the efforts of milk banking and distribution, Dr Alan Horn of the Groote Shuur Hospital in Cape Town, said, “I firmly believe that the practice of milk banking is still in its infancy, globally and especially in South Africa. Donating breast milk is an act that involves the least pain and the most gain, compared to any other human tissue or organ donation. It is potentially life-saving and is worth more than equipment or staff.”
Amanda Nickerson, Executive Director of IBMP, statesthat one-third of women age 25-29 in South Africa are living with HIV. Hence, there are fewer donors in the area eligible to offer breast milk through a local donor bank. The IBMP is a novel initiative with few partners that can produce and ship large quantities of donor breast milk to developing nations.
“We are so thankful to the mothers who donated their milk to make this shipment possible. We are already collecting milk for our next shipment which will be later this year,” says Nickerson.
Quick International Courier, a global medical transportation and logistics specialist, donated their services to provide the fastest and most secure cold chain transportation services from Monrovia, California to South Africa.
Prolacta Bioscience, a life science company, that creates specialty formulations made exclusively from human milk for the nutritional needs of critically ill premature infants, partners with International Breast Milk Project by processing and packaging the donated breast milk to ensure its quality and safety.
International Breast Milk Project is the only organization in the world to provide large provisions of donor breast milk to infants suffering from HIV/AIDS, malnourishment, poverty and disease in Africa. As of this year, IBMP has provided over 267,682 ounces, or 66,920 bottles, of life-giving donor breast milk to infants in South Africa.