Former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob launched the programme on Thursday (Aug 17). (Photo: Monica Kotwani)
SINGAPORE: Mothers who are unable to produce enough milk for their premature or sick infants can now rely on a safe supply of breast milk, with the launch of a three-year pilot for Singapore’s first donor breast milk bank.
The programme, a collaboration between KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and Temasek Foundation Cares, was launched by former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob on Thursday (Aug 17).
The foundation has set aside S$1.37 million for the milk bank, which will collect, screen, process and store breast milk from donor mothers.
In a joint media release, KKH and the foundation said they hope to recruit 375 mothers who are willing to donate their excess breast milk supply. They will need to undergo a “stringent” screening process, which includes tests for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C and syphilis.
The programme is expected to benefit about 900 babies receiving neonatal care at KKH, Singapore General Hospital and the National University Hospital over the three-year period.
According to the statement, about 350 "very low birth weight” infants receive neonatal intensive care in local public Hospitals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mothers exclusively breast feed their babies for the first six months, as it is a vital source of nutrition and antibodies that boost their immune system.