A mother of two, Phyllis Mwanthi, after delivering her second baby about five months ago, she started on an immediate action to express breast milk ensuring that the little one survived on the ‘special drink’ only for complete six months as recommended by experts.
The baby is now transitioning to solids and Mwanthi noted she has extras of breast milk that her baby won’t need anymore.
By the end of last week, the mother of two had been expressing the breast milk daily ensuring she had stored at least 400ml and the idea of reaching out to the desperate young souls with the ‘liquid gold’ hit her head.
Mwanthi later made a call to Angels Centre for Abandoned Children home which is located in Waithaka, Dagoretti South Constituency, asking them if she could deliver the milk there.
The idea and the charity work was accepted by the director of the children’s home but needed Mwanthi to back up her good intentions with a letter of approval from the doctor that indicates she’s free from infections such as Hepatitis B and HIV.
The lady with the golden heart later confirmed that she went for the tests as requested and was given the greenlight by her doctor to donate the milk.
Mwanthi on Monday, delivered about 8 litres of the breast milk and will be used in the feeding of the abandoned children.
If Mwanthi wanted to donate her breast milk at a health facility, she would have been denied the opportunity because the country has only one human milk bank located at Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi and only the mothers who deliver at that facility are permitted to donate their breast milk to the bank.
According to Kwamboka, a professional in that field at Pumwani Hospital, a sample of the donated milk is tested to see whether there is the presence of pathogenic microbes and if certified to be of good quality, the milk is then pasteurised.
Pasteurisation is to get the milk heated to 60.5 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes, and then drastically cooled to negative 18 degrees Celsius then undergoing the same test for pathogenic microbes again.
If the milk passes this stage, it is declared healthy and fit for consumption for babies who might need it.
In addition, Kwamboka says that children who need donated breast milk often can’t access their own mother’s milk due to several different reasons.
She also says that as things stand, there aren’t formal channels provided for Kenyan women to just walk in and donate breastmilk.
And according to Rose Wambu, a child nutrition manager at the Health Ministry, it will take long before formal channels are established to be able to allow mothers to donate breastmilk.
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