Human Milk Banking Project

Project Period

March 2018 - January 2019

Kenya has a high burden of neonatal deaths (22/1,000 live births) and an estimated 39,000 infants die every year.

Evidence shows that optimal breastfeeding (BF) is among the most powerful interventions for reducing infant mortality. Some babies, however, lack access to their mother’s milk because of suboptimal BF practices or because the mother is sick, unavailable, or dead.

When BF is not an option, the World Health Organization recommends donated human milk (DHM) as a lifesaving alternative, particularly for vulnerable infants, and has called for global scale-up of Human Milk Banks (HMBs) to increase access to DHM. Nevertheless, none of the sub-Saharan African countries including Kenya are yet to implement the global best practice of providing safe DHM from HMBs for children who cannot access their mother’s own milk.

APHRC conducted a formative assessment in 2016 on the potential acceptability of donor human milk and feasibility of establishing HMBs. It found potential feasibility, acceptability and need for donor human milk. The next phase of implementation research aims at assessing the operational feasibility of establishing a Mother-Baby Friendly Initiative Plus program that includes a HMB, Kangaroo Mother Care, and breastfeeding promotion in Kenya. The study will also evaluate the potential effectiveness of an integrated MBFI+ model in improving neonatal health and nutrition outcomes and the actual cost of implementing the MBFI+ model. Evidence generated from this study will be instrumental in informing the scale-up strategies for MBFI+ including HMBs in Kenya and other similar settings of sub-Saharan Africa, as an important strategy to reverse the high neonatal and infant deaths in the country and improve child health and nutrition outcomes in general.

Project Funders

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Theme Leader, Health and Wellbeing (HaW)

Elizabeth Kimani-Murage

Elizabeth, a Public Health Nutrition Specialist and a Research Scientist…

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