Fortis La Femme and Breast Milk Foundation Launch Amaara, the First Pasteurized Human Milk Bank in Delhi-NCR

Tie-up with Government hospitals as part of CSR initiative to save newborns

NEW DELHI, April 27, 2016 /CNW/ - Fortis La Femme, Delhi's hospital for women & newborns in collaboration with Breast Milk Foundation (BMF), a non-profit organization within the GNS Foundation has launched the first Pasteurized Human Milk Bank, 'Amaara' in Delhi-NCR today. This non-profit centre recognizes that breast milk is the best nutritional food source for infants and should be available to babies deprived of mother's milk. 

This is an initiative in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) Millennium Development Goals of reducing Infant Mortality rate. The WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) recommend that the best feed for a baby who cannot be breastfed, is milk expressed from own mother or from another healthy mother.

Bhavdeep Singh, CEO, Fortis Healthcare stated that, "India faces its own unique set of health challenges, one of them being the burden of low birth weight vulnerable babies. Feeding these babies with breast milk can significantly reduce the risk of infections as well as save their lives. Keeping in mind the complications associated with formula feeding and the mothers' inability to breastfeed in the initial period, there is a strong need to establish human milk banks. The Amaara Milk Bank at Fortis La Femme is Delhi-NCR's first Pasteurized Human Milk Bank, which will cater to infants hospitalized in its neonatal intensive care unit as well as other hospitals. We have tied up with government hospitals such as AIIMS and Safdarjung, where the banked milk will be provided free of cost to newborns requiring it".

Anika Parashar, COO, Fortis La Femme said, "Fortis La Femme's 'Amaara' Human Milk Bank is a landmark initiative by a corporate hospital in this region. The bioactive components of donor milk are unmatched if compared to any formula milk available commercially. Keeping this in view and general concerns which are associated with complications arising from formula milk given to sick or pre-term babies, there is a strong need to establish human milk banks."

Dedicating the centre to the public, Dr Raghuram Mallaiah, Director, Neonatology, Fortis La Femme said, "Many mothers of vulnerable, hospitalized babies are unable to breastfeed feed them. In addition, many mothers due to their own weak health or other reasons are not able to generate sufficient milk for their babies. For all of them, pasteurized donor milk is recommended as an essential alternative. The Milk Bank is a proven solution to save the lives of the most medically fragile newborns against life-threatening illnesses, serious infections and other complications related to pre-term birth."

Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Director, BMF, in a statement said, "Both BMF and Fortis La Femme have come together in this remarkable peerless initiative to lend a hand to those high risk newborns who are unable to receive the nurturing care a mother provides. It hopes to protect these preterm babies from any further harm and suffering that formula milk poses to their delicate condition. The sole purpose of this initiative is to facilitate high quality care to the early newborns along with its noble vision to grant charity with the assistance of GNS Foundation".

Although, globally human milk banking is a common practice, in India, the progress has been slow and only 14 such banks exist, as per the Indian Academy of Paediatrics. Key reasons for this are lack of awareness among the public and promotion of formula milk by the industry. At the 'Amaara' Milk Bank at Fortis La Femme, milk once donated will be tested, pasteurized and frozen (for a period of six months) at the facility and available to needy newborns. It is a public milk bank and, therefore, accessible to all mothers who need it.  

The Breast Milk Foundation in collaboration with Fortis La Femme's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit also endeavours to spread awareness on the concept of Human Milk Banking through educational programs amongst potential donors as well as receivers. India has the highest number of low birth weight babies and Neo-natal Mortality Rate (NMR), during the period of 0-28 days per thousand live births. This figure stands at 28 per 1,000 live births in India as recorded in 2013, whereas Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the age 0-1 year per thousand live births, in 2013 was 40 according to the Annual Report, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI. Feeding these babies with donor breast milk through human milk banks can have the single largest impact on reducing child mortality, one of the key goals of the National Health Mission, Government of India. 

About Breast Milk Foundation 

Breastmilk Foundation is a non-profit organization, within GNS Foundation set up in the memory of Late Dr. Govind Narain Srivastava, who endeavoured to bring major changes in the field of healthcare and education. 'Amaara', being the sole human milk bank in Delhi NCR region, will focus to provide donor milk to high risk newborns admitted in the neo-natal units and to babies whose mothers face lactation failure. BMF has come forward to address the issue in Delhi/NCR in an effort to save lives of vulnerable newborns. 

About Fortis La Femme  

Fortis La Femme (Centre for Women), a unique facility, is inspired by the core belief that a woman is a very special person with special needs. Medical care at the hospital includes Obstetrics (Painless Labour), Gynaecology, Neonatology (Level III NICU), Anaesthesia, General & Laparoscopic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgeries and Genetic & Foetal Medicine. The hospital facilitates care for the entire stages of woman's lifespan-birth, adolescence, motherhood, menopause and beyond. Its patient-sensitive services are provided in a world-class facility with a discreetly elegant ambience laden with value-added conveniences. In the year 2010, the hospital got NABH accreditation, and was successfully re-accredited in 2013. It was adjudged winner of Most Popular Maternity Hospital award by Child Magazine in 2013. Fortis La Femme was also ranked No. 5 in Top Gynaecological Hospitals in India (No. 1 Private Gynaecological Hospital in North India) in Nielsen Survey 2015 conducted by THE WEEK magazine. 

About Fortis Healthcare Limited 

Fortis Healthcare Limited is a leading integrated healthcare delivery service provider in India. The healthcare verticals of the company primarily comprise hospitals, diagnostics and day care specialty facilities. The company operates its healthcare delivery services in India, Dubai, Mauritius and Sri Lanka with 54 healthcare facilities (including projects under development), approximately 10,000 potential beds and 260 diagnostic centres. In a global study of the 30 most technologically advanced hospitals in the world, its flagship, the Fortis Memorial Research Institute' (FMRI), was ranked No.2, by 'topmastersinhealthcare.com, and placed ahead of many other outstanding medical institutions in the world. 

SOURCE Breast Milk Foundation

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