Kolkata: A modern and sophisticated breast milk bank, stated to be the first in India in the public sector, was on Wednesday inaugurated here at the premier state-run SSKM hospital by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"This is a novel scheme to cater to the basic needs of a child who is just born, but does not get the milk from the mother or when the mother dies after giving birth to the child," Banerjee said, stressing on the importance of breast feeding. The Chief Minister, who also looks after the Health portfolio said, "this is the most modernised and advanced breast milk bank which has been set up with utmost care so that it is infection free and caters to the need of babies who normally do not get mother's milk."
Minister of state for Health Chandrima Bhattacherjee said that there were a few human milk bank in hospitals in the private sector. "But this is the first ever public sector initiative of setting up a modernised and advanced breast milk bank," she said.
Dr Tamal Kanti Ghosh, Superintendent and Vice-Principal of the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research at the hospital said that till now breast milk collected from in-house mothers was being banked on a small scale and given to newborn babies whose mothers were either ill or not lactating.
"We will start operating on a bigger scale with the formal inauguration of the bank today," Ghosh said. He said that the milk would be provided free. The bank was being funded by the National Health Renewal Mission and equipment procured and the recruitment process done. New born babies suffering from malnutrition would also benefit from it, he said.