New Human Milk Banks for Cuban Children

Santa Clara, Cuba - Cuba now has 11 Human Milk Banks (HMB), following the inauguration of one such facility in this city, on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week.

Located in the Mariana Grajales Gyneco-Obstetric Hospital, in the capital of the central province of Villa Clara, this institution guarantees the optimal nutrition of infants vulnerable due to low birth weight and congenital malformations.

Experts at the HMB also provide guidance to mothers about how to breastfeed their newborns correctly, as well as the best ways to donate milk.

The center also provides care of hospitalized infants in neonatology wards and intensive care units, and for those whose mothers cannot breastfeed.

Dr. Odalys Rodriguez, head of the Health and Nutrition Program of the United Nations Children's Fund at the UNICEF office in Cuba, told reporters that 90 percent of the country's demand in this regard is met by the banks, which are hoped to number 14 soon.

Dr. Pablo Roque, national coordinator of the Breastfeeding Program and the HMBs, noted that 9,078 women donated milk in Cuba last year, contributing more than 2,800 liters that benefited more than 3,000 children.

'Those actions contributed considerably to reducing infant mortality rates,' he stressed.

The system has great prospects, as natural milk favors the nutritional recovery of seriously ill newborns, reduces the risks of infection due to sterile conditions, and facilitates the availability of indispensable nutrition for infants.

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