The government of the United Kingdom has committed USD 665,000 (Sh66,550,000) to fund the first Human Milk Bank (HMB) at Pumwani Maternity Hospital.
The British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, said they are looking forward to launch the project, together with the Nairobi County government, sometimes in early April this year.
The HMB in Nairobi is being funded by the United Kingdom through the Mother-Baby Friendly Initiative Plus (MBFI+).
“Once operational, the milk bank will help save the lives of the vulnerable babies such as those who are premature, orphaned or abandoned, through the nutrition benefit of human milk,” said Hailey in Nairobi on Kenya.
In a letter dated March 12, 2019, sent to Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, on the follow of the project, Hailey said the MBFI+ has already supported the infrastructure improvement at the Pumwani Hospital.
He said they have procured and delivered equipment, including pasteurizer, trained and oriented the hospital technical team on milk bank operations and conducted a learning exchange to Scotland to enable the technical team learn about quality assurance systems and outreach programmes.
“We have also stablished a technical working group at both national and county level to provide oversight and ensure adherence to quality and standard and developed guidelines and tools to support operations of the milk bank,” said the British High Commissioner.
He said the Nairobi County government has shown commitment in realizing this project.
“Working with staff at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital, the county health team have finalized plans for the launch of the milk bank,” said Hailey.
He said UK government and Nairobi County should jointly launch the bank early April.
“This will be symbolic of the importance of our respective government to place improving newborn health and life opportunities in Kenya,” he said.
Governor Mike Sonko expressed confidence that the project will help improve the maternal health care in Nairobi County.
“We are glad that the UK government is helping us in this project. This project is very important to Nairobi as a region and also for Kenya at large. It is the first ever in East African region,” said Sonko.
He said as county government they will work in collaboration with partners to ensure the successful launch of the project next month.
“We are in full support of this project because it will transform the maternal health Kenya in our country. We are also looking forward to launch it as soon as possible,” he said.