Pakistan’s first Shariah-Compliant human milk bank launched at SICHN

ISLAMABAD   -   Executive Director of the Sindh Institute of Child Health and Neonatology (SICHN), Prof Jamal Raza on Sunday said that they were proud to have launched Pakistan’s first and only Shariah-compliant Human Milk Bank at SICHN. Speaking to a private news channel, he explained that this initiative aims to provide pasteurised donor milk to infants who cannot receive sufficient breast milk from their mothers. He said that they have established a specialised facility to collect, process, store, and distribute human breast milk donated by lactating mothers. This facility was established in collaboration with UNICEF which will be proved to be a significant milestone in maternal health. Prof Raza stated that the project will provide essential nourishment to newborns in need, further enhancing comprehensive neonatal care. “Once collected, the milk undergoes pasteurization to eliminate any potential pathogens while preserving its nutritional content. After pasteurization, the milk will be stored frozen until needed,” he added. He highlighted that human milk banks primarily serve premature or sick infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) who may not be able to breastfeed directly from their mothers. Donor milk can provide these vulnerable infants with essential nutrients, antibodies, and protective factors that support their growth and development. In addition to providing donor milk to hospitalized infants, human milk banks will also offer support and education to breastfeeding mothers, he added. Prof Raza said that complete records of the donors and children would be kept at the institute and provided to the parents to ensure the facility is Shariah-compliant. A team from SICHN will be sent to some Islamic countries for training to operate the Human Milk Bank effectively, he added. He emphasized the importance of educating society about the operations of a Human Milk Bank, the first in Pakistan, to alleviate concerns and misconceptions.

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