Human milk bank in Iloilo City proposed

The Iloilo City Council on Tuesday approved on first reading an ordinance that seeks to establish a human milk bank to support women and children in need of breast milk.

The proposal of Councilor Candice Magdalane A. Tupas, a doctor by profession, got the approval of her colleagues. She said that having a milk bank “would encourage mothers to donate their breast milk.”

“This will be used by sickly, neonate (newborn) in the ICU (intensive care unit). If we do have this pasteurization machine, we can share it and refer it to other hospitals. And we can even give milk to other provinces,” she said.

Tupas explained that sharing milk is done voluntarily and it is being done for the camaraderie among mothers.

However, there will arise a question of whether the milk is clean or “virus-free”. The breast milk bank will assure that the milk to be given among women and children needing it, is disease- and virus-free.

In a follow-up interview, Tupas said her main objective for pushing the ordinance is “to make breast milk as the primary source of nutrition of children up to two years.”

She added that right now there is a makeshift already but it has to undergo pasteurization to make sure that it is virus-free.

Once passed, she said that one problem would be the cost because one machine costs PHP8 million.

She was looking at putting the human milk bank either at the West Visayas Medical Center or at the Lapaz Maternity Health Center.

As a doctor, she said children need not drink water up to six months of age if they are breastfed. She added that children are less prone to diseases if they take breast milk.

For mothers, a study shows that breastfeeding for two years leads to less risk of breast cancer. It will also increase baby and maternal bond, which is very important nowadays, Tupas said.

“If we promote baby and maternal bond as early as the neonatal age, then we have no problem with our children in the future,” she stated.

Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo said that there is no reason for them not to pass the “very noble ordinance.”

“We hope to implement it as soon as possible because this is very important. There is no substitute for human milk than anything else,” he said.

It also generated support from Councilor Lyndon Acap who authored the establishment of lactation stations in workplaces in Iloilo City.

Once the ordinance is passed, then Iloilo City will have the honor of having the first human milk bank in Western Visayas. Tupas said she looked forward to pass the ordinance before this term ends.PNA