The South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR), in partnership with Discovery and the Northern Cape Department of Health (NCDoH), has upgraded the human milk bank facility at Kimberley Hospital.

The human milk bank at Kimberley Hospital was originally spearheaded in 2007 by Dr Josef Petrus Jooste, Dr Aletta Hoffman and dietician Danelle Stubbe. Over the last decade it has fed more than 1,500 infants, and has distributed more than 5 million millilitres of breastmilk to premature infants throughout the Northern Cape.

“We are extremely proud to be launching this revamped facility, and we are grateful for the generous support of Discovery and the NCDoH,” said breastfeeding activist and Executive Director of the SABR, Stasha Jordan.

Upgrades to the facility include the installation of an air purification system, new cupboards, fittings, basins, and other necessary equipment to ensure that the milk bank meets with all regulations and requirements for sustainable human milk banking.

“Breastfeeding is a vital part of any infant’s development. Hundreds of scientific studies on the subject are unambiguous: breastfeeding a child for the first 12 months of its life is the best way to ensure it grows up healthy,” said Jordan.

“Exclusive breastfeeding is the best option for all infants, but many premature infants simply cannot breastfeed optimally. This is why facilities like this milk bank are critical to these vulnerable babies,” said Deputy Director of Nutrition for the NCDoH, Maretha Le Roux.

“One incredible thing about breastmilk is that new-born babies only require a tiny amount for each feeding – 10mls or less. For the most severely ‘micro-premature’ infants, 1ml of breastmilk every three hours can make the difference between life and death. This is why we say that every drop counts – that one drop could literally save a baby’s life,” continued Le Roux.

“We care deeply about the communities we serve, and we’re committed to helping save the lives of premature infants and other babies in need,” said Client Relationship Manager at Discovery, Lisa Temkin-Todes.

“The existing milk bank at Kimberley Hospital has done such sterling work over the last 10 years. It was our privilege to ensure the future of one of the most prolific and effective breastmilk banking facilities in South Africa,” concluded Temkin-Todes.

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