The UK Government has committed to fund the first human milk bank in East Africa, at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey says they have set aside Sh65 million for funding the human milk bank, which upon completion will be launched in early April.
“This will be symbolic of the importance our respective governments place on improving newborn health and life opportunities in Kenya,” he stated.
Once the milk bank is operational, it will help save the lives of vulnerable babies such as those who are premature, orphaned or abandoned through the nutritional benefit of human milk.
The UK supported initiative – Mother-Baby Friendly Initiative Plus (MBFI+), has already supported infrastructure improvements at the hospital, procured and delivered equipment, including a pasteurizer, they have also trained and oriented the hospital’s technical team on milk bank operations.
They have conducted an exchange programme to Scotland to enable the technical team to learn about quality assurance systems and outreach programmes.
According to a statement from the High Commissioner’s office, the county needs to speed up the procurement of essential laboratory equipment which is delaying it to become fully operational.
The equipment is approximately Sh6 million which is supposed to come from the county’s budget.
“I would be grateful for your assistance in ensuring that these funds are released as a matter of urgency so that we can finalize the plans of launching the milk bank,” he stated.