Iloilo City to establish own human milk bank

Philippine News Agency
January 13, 2021

MOTHER'S MILK BANK. Dr. Candice Magdalane A. Tupas presents Human Milk Bank of Iloilo City Ordinance she authored during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Tuesday (Jan. 12, 2021). The ordinance mandating the establishment of a milk bank to support women and children in need of breastmilk received the approval of the council. (Photo courtesy of Councilor Candice Magdalane Tupas)

ILOILO CITY – This highly urbanized city will soon have its human milk bank to support women and children in need of breastmilk.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) during its regular session on Tuesday approved the Human Milk Bank of Iloilo City Ordinance authored by Councilor Candice Magdalane A. Tupas.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, Tupas shared that it’s very fortunate that the ordinance was passed at this time of pandemic.

“It has been studied that breastmilk boosts the immunity of our children,” she said.

She added that mother’s milk has external Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) that are very much needed by the immune system and can protect against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and other viruses.

Tupas, who is a doctor by profession, said that she read an article saying that breastmilk does not only protect from Covid-19 but it is a treatment for Covid-19.

Covid-19 positive mothers are given the option to room-in with their child because continuous breastfeeding is encouraged. As long as the mother wears a face mask, then the baby is protected.

Meantime, the Human Milk Bank will be hooked with the city health office (CHO) or in the pediatric unit of the proposed Iloilo City Hospital.

It will have a lactation consultant and a medical technologist and will be equipped with a freezer, storage unit, and pasteurization machine.

“It’s very important that we have that while waiting for the human milk bank, to just influence the mothers to continue breastfeeding their children because that is a good nutrition for their children,” Tupas said.

The lady councilor has already talked with Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas and CHO officer-in-charge Annabelle Tang about the ordinance.

She was informed by Tang that it can be included in the future plan of the city hospital.

Currently, there is one human milk bank at the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVSU) but while it accepts donations, it caters only to their patients.

Once the city’s human milk bank is operational, it will initially cater to in-patients of the city hospital but will soon be made available to other hospitals upon the signing of a memorandum of agreement.

“If we are open for donations, then we should be open to give to other babies who would need the breastmilk also,” she said.

There have to be criteria and if they pass then they should receive the breastmilk, she added.

Tupas believed that the initiative could entice more donors as she heard that the WVMC milk bank has a lot of donors.

However, donors have to undergo screening to ensure that they are fit to donate breastmilk.

“I’m very thankful to those who reached out, our lactation consultants who are very, very supportive. They said that if the facility is there, they are very much willing to help us,” she added. (PNA)


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