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Brazil opens 3rd Human Milk Bank in Africa


Janaína Plessmann (Brazilian Cooperation Agency)


On november 18th, the third Human Bank Milk in African continent was opened at the Lucrécia Paim Maternity, in Luanda, Angola’s capital. The Bank is the result of a technical cooperation project promoted by Brazil, the “Pilot Project for the implantation and implementation of a Human Milk Bank in Angola”, a trailblazer in the country, coordinated by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and technically implemented by the Ministry of Health by means of Fiocruz.
The Ministry of Health, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, went to Angola especially to participate in the opening ceremony, led by the Angolan Ministry of Health, Silvia Lutucuta. In his words, Minister Mandetta remembered that all children in the world have the right to be breastfed and that it is the governments’ responsibility to create the conditions that allow this right to be fulfilled. “Brazil has always been, and will continue to be at the disposal of our sister country, Angola. Through cooperation, we can share all our good practices in health and contribute to create a healthier society in Angola”, he declared.

The Luanda unit will be a reference for the creation of a network of human milk banks in the country and will work as a tool to promote, protect and support breastfeeding. In addition to equipping the Human Milk Bank, through the project the entire technical staff of the hospital was trained, professionals who will be working at the milk bank at the Lucrécia Paim maternity, so they can become multipliers of this knowledge in the African country.

In addition to the Ministry of Health, the Brazilian delegation also includeded Fiocruz president, Nísia Trindade Lima; the coordinator of the Global Network of Human Milk Banks of Fiocruz, João Aprígio; adjunt director of ABC, ambassador Demétrio Bueno Carvalho; as well as other members of the Ministry of Health and ABC.

In Brazil, there are 224 human milk banks and 215 collection stations. By means of international technical cooperation, the ABC, the Ministry of Health and Fiocruz have already opened more than 110 human milk banks in 20 countries in Latin and Central America, in the Iberian Peninsula and in Africa, where, in addition to Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde already have their units.

Human Milk Bank
The Human Milk Bank is a healthcare service that usually works within public hospitals, to promote breastfeeding and manage collection, processing and quality control of donated human milk, for later distribution following the prescription of physicians or nutritionists to babies whose mothers do not produce sufficient milk according to the newborn’s needs. Breast milk is especially important for premature babies.
The banks also have adequate infrastructure to store donated milk after processing, and they also work with investigation, education, information and counseling regarding breastfeeding. Among the main effects of breastfeeding on newborns is the reduction of neonatal mortality and protection against various diseases, such as malnourishment, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions.

Global Network of Human Milk Banks
As a result of the Brazilian international technical cooperation, a Global Network of Human Milk Banks was created, acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and coordinated by Fiocruz. Within the Global Network there are currently Network of Human Milk Banks of CLPL, Mercosul and Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

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