Rajasthan’s first State-run human milk bank, “Jeevan Dhara”, was inaugurated by the Health Minister recently.
- The first mother’s milk bank in the State was started by a non-governmental organisation in a government hospital in Udaipur.
Jeevan Dhara has been started in collaboration with the Norwegian government and JK Lon Hospital, and aims to collect excess breast milk from lactating mothers and provide it to infants deprived of it.
- Even as the concept of human milk bank is picking up, experts have warned of the harmful effects of its online buying.
- The online market in human milk, growing fastest in the U.S., is now gaining popularity elsewhere, largely among mothers ineligible for milk from milk banks.
- Although a narrow group of adult consumers (including people with cancer, gym enthusiasts and fetishists) buy milk online, most buyers are parents who require milk for their infants.
- In countries such as the U.S., where milk banks charge up to $4 (Rs. 250) an ounce (0.03 litre), online milk is often the cheaper option.
Problems associated with online buying:
- Unlike regulated banks, online sellers do not incur any expense on pasteurization and testing for disease or contamination.
- Collection, storage and shipping requirements are negotiated between buyer and seller, enabling lower prices. These cost-saving measures lead to a high risk of communicable disease transmission, contamination, and tampering.
- Unlike donors at licensed milk banks, online sellers are not required to undergo any serological screening — meaning diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV, human T cell lymphotropic virus, and syphilis may go undetected.
Sources: The Hindu.