About Madhur Sneha
Breastfeeding and women’s milk diet have a major role to play in preventing life-threatening infections in children during the COVID-19 pandemic,
A recent report has highlighted the importance of breastfeeding and a nutritious diet for mothers in protecting children from life-threatening infections, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report cited India’s high infant mortality rate, which is often attributed to a lack of sufficient milk, particularly breast milk, and the majority of premature births. Shockingly, about 43% or 11 million infants out of the 25 million born in India each year are not breastfed in the first few hours of their lives. Furthermore, 30-50% of preterm or sick children do not have access to breast milk in Indian hospitals’ Neonatal Medical Care Units (NICUs). Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that mothers have access to adequate nutrition and that infants have access to breast milk to improve infant health and reduce mortality rates, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To address this issue, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, launched a special milk bank called “Madhur Sneha” in 2013. This milk bank is in SSKM Hospital and has advanced equipment for collecting, processing, and storing milk. It’s used to feed premature or low-weight babies or those whose mothers can’t breastfeed directly. The milk is pasteurized to make it safe and healthy for the babies. This initiative is very important to improve infant health and save lives.
- To ensure that premature and low-birth-weight infants receive safe and nutritious breast milk when those infants’ mothers are unable to provide breastfeed .
- To reduce infant mortality rates in West Bengal by providing access to breast milk for infants who are at a higher risk of health complications due to their birth weight or other medical conditions.
- To promote the importance of breastfeeding and provide support for mothers who are unable to directly breastfeed their infants due to medical or other reasons.
- To raise awareness about the importance of safe and hygienic milk collection, processing, and storage practices.
Madhur Sneh has no eligibility criteria and is solely for the unfortunate babies/children who are not able to get their mother’s milk are eligible in this scheme.
- The baby must have been born prematurely or have a low birth weight, or their mother is unable to breastfeed directly.
- The child must be admitted to SSKM Hospital or a referral hospital that has a tie-up with the Milk Bank
- The infant must be under the care of a qualified health care provider who has evaluated the infant’s medical condition and deemed the use of donor milk appropriate.
- The infant’s parents or guardians must provide written consent for the use of donor milk and follow the guidelines and protocols provided by the milk bank.
The “Madhur Sneha” project has several benefits, including:
- Providing access to safe and nutritious breast milk for premature and low-birth-weight infants who are at a higher risk of health complications.
- Reducing the risk of infections and other life-threatening complications in infants who are unable to directly breastfed due to medical reasons.
- Promoting the importance of breastfeeding and raising awareness about the benefits of breast milk for infants.
- Supporting mothers who are unable to directly breastfeed their infants due to medical or other reasons, and reducing their stress and anxiety.
- Encouraging and promoting the donation of excess breast milk by lactating mothers to help other infants in need.
Indeed, the Madhur Sneha project launched by the Bengal Government is a crucial step towards providing safe and nutritious breast milk to premature and low-birth-weight infants who are at a higher risk of health complications. It not only reduces the risk of infections and other life-threatening complications in infants but also promotes the importance of breastfeeding and raises awareness about the benefits of breast milk for infants.