SHERBROOKE, QC, Nov. 14, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The Héma-Québec Public Mothers' Milk Bank is starting a pilot project in Sherbrooke. The main goal of this project is to recruit 80 donors by March 31, 2018, to meet the growing demand for mother's milk for very premature infants.
To participate in the pilot project, mothers in the Estrie area who are healthy, non-smoking, nursing and able to produce surplus milk must first register with the Bank on Héma-Québec's Web site. They must also reside less than an hour's drive from the drop-off point, the Sherbrooke PLASMAVIE Plasma Donor Lounge, located at 3200, rue King Ouest.
Mothers who meet the qualification criteria collect their milk at home in the bottles supplied by Héma-Québec, freeze it and bring it to the drop-off point at their convenience.
Ongoing need to help very premature infants
The Public Mothers' Milk Bank has been in operation since 2014 and is mandated to provide pasteurized human milk to premature infants born at 32 weeks or earlier who require medical care and whose mother is unable to breastfeed.
Donated milk helps reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious intestinal disease, by an average of 3.3 times. In addition, premature infants are more likely to achieve a satisfactory weight, less prone to infections, and less likely to be hospitalized again when fed with donated milk.
To meet the growing demand from hospital neonatology teams, including the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke, Héma-Québec already expanded the recruitment of mother's milk donors to the Montréal and Québec City metropolitan communities in June 2016. Nevertheless, the Bank is currently only able to provide milk to the most vulnerable premature infants, those born at 29 weeks or earlier. More donors are therefore needed to enable Héma-Québec to provide enough mother's milk for all premature infants born at 32 weeks or earlier, and the pilot project in Sherbrooke is part of the strategy.
Given that mothers participating in the Public Mothers' Milk Bank provide milk for an average of 6 months, it is a constant renewal process: 700 new donors must be recruited each year.
Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently meet the needs of the Québec population for quality blood and other biological products of human origin.
Héma-Québec encompasses 1,300 employees, nearly 165,000 blood donors, more than 2,000 mobile blood drives per year across Québec, thousands of volunteers and more than 300,000 blood products delivered annually to Québec hospitals to meet the needs of patients.
Give blood. Give life.
Original text in French.
For further information: Héma-Québec, Media line, 514 832-0871