Tenders invited for Karnataka’s first breast milk bank

MORE THAN SIXTH months after the fund allocation for setting up a breast milk bank in Vani Vilas Hospital, the first-of-its-kind facility in a state-run institution is yet to take shape. ₹ 36 lakh was released under the National Health Mission to the hospital in September 2017, said Dr. Rajani, Deputy Director, Nutrition, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Karnataka. The hospital has identified an ideal space within its campus for setting up the facility and the process is still going on, she added.

Dr. Geetha Shivamurthy, the Medical Superintendent of Vani Vilas Hospital, said the hospital had invited tenders. “We have given 15 days to the bidders. We will have to go for negotiations and then only can the facility be set up,” she said.

Dr. Geetha said there were guidelines and procedures that needed to be followed for setting up the breast milk bank.

Dr. Rajani said Vani Vilas Hospital required a breast milk bank as it was a tertiary care centre catering to children from across the state.

“The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the hospital has around 85 to 90 babies every day and most of the babies are born before term or are sick. These babies are in dire need of breast milk,” said a doctor from Vani Vilas Hospital.

Currently, these babies get an intravenous fluid (used to prevent dehydration) and milk powder instead of breast milk if their mothers are not able to produce milk.