The first human milk bank is to be opened in Croatia within a year. ''The bank will be part of KBC Zagreb, whilst the investment is estimated at 2 million Kunas. This project has been initiated in order to provide the best possible care to premature born infants and ill newborns. Each year around 2,000 children are born prematurely in Croatia, whilst 400 of them need intensive care. In this case, breast milk is crucial to their survival and a healthy growth'', commented Gorana Banda from UNICEF.
Banda also explained that a human milk bank or breast milk bank is a service, which collects, screens, processes, and dispenses by prescription human milk donated by nursing mothers who are not biologically related to the recipient infant. This milk is intended for premature born infants whose mothers cannot be with their children, as well as for all infants whose mothers cannot supply their own breast milk to their child for some reason.
‘’Breast milk has nutritional properties and is a cure when talking about premature infants. Once the first bank opens, all mothers, who want that, will be able to donate their milk, if they meet certain conditions. Mothers who decide to donate their milk should be healthy as it is the case with blood donors’’, explained Gorana Banda.
In order to popularize this project and to gather donations for the first human milk bank in Croatia, UNICEF will organize a humanitarian race titled ‘’Milky Way’’ in Zagreb on the 10th of September 2017.
In addition, the International Milk Banking Initiative (IMBI) was founded at the International HMBANA Congress in 2005. It lists 33 countries with milk bank programs. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the first alternative to a biological mother not being able to breast feed is the use of human milk from other sources.