Establishing an integrated human milk banking approach to strengthen newborn care

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Abstract

The provision of donor human milk can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality among vulnerable infants and is recommended by the World Health Organization as the next best option when a mother's own milk is unavailable. Regulated human milk banks can meet this need, however, scale-up has been hindered by the absence of an appropriate model for resourcelimited settings and a lack of policy support for human milk banks and for the operational procedures supporting them. To reduce infant mortality, human milk banking systems need to be scaled up and integrated with other components of newborn care. This article draws on current guidelines and best practices from human milk banks to offer a compilation of universal requirements that provide a foundation for an integrated model of newborn care that is appropriate for low- and high-resource settings alike.

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