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Breast milk bank on drawing board

THE government is planning to establish a breast milk bank, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu said yesterday.

Speaking during the launching of the World Breastfeeding Week yesterday, she said they were working on the best modalities for establishing the bank, which would, among other tasks, address nutrition issues amongst infants.

She said there were a number of challenges being discussed as far as the plan was concerned, including how best to get quality breast milk.

“Kenya has set up a breast milk bank. We are planning to have our own. We are working on the best modalities,” said Ms Mwalimu.

The minister explained that the bank that was likely to be set up at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) would, among other benefits, facilitate economic relief forparents.

“It will reduce the high cost of purchasing the infants milk formula, especially canned one,” she added.

However, she said they would be working stage by stage to ensure that they were ready for the milk bank, especially in addressingthe challenges of how best they would handle an increase in the number of diseases that might have effects on consumers.

She also used the platform to urge responsible authorities to set aside rooms in workplaces for breastfeeding mothers, where they could undertake the noble task in a conducive environment.

She also explained that breastfeeding employees whose employers were blocking themfrom breastfeeding their children to lodge complaints to their area labour offices for intervention.

As for men, he said a statutory paternity leave would be abolished if it became apparent that most fathers were not utilising it as intended.

The minister told the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre (TFNC) to conduct public awareness training, especially on six-month exclusive breastfeeding, so that it would be well understood by the majority of people.

“There is a need to increase collective responsibility”

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Author: NELLY MTEMA in Dodoma

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