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Breastmilk matters: new partnerships to save South Africa’s youngest lives

This World Breastfeeding Week, the Children’s Hospital Trust UK team is proud to announce three new partnerships to support our work with the community-based Breastmilk Bank and non-profit, ‘Milk Matters’. Thanks to the support of Ethical Currency, The Thomas Cook Children’s Charity and assisted by a grant from The Lord and Lady Lurgan Trust, Milk Matters can reach over 5 000 premature babies across the Western Cape – giving some of the country’s youngest lives the breastmilk they need to survive.

Every year 150,000 babies in South Africa are born prematurely, the majority in the Western and Northern Capes. It is a dangerous time, with pre-term births now the world’s first cause of death in children under five. “Breastmilk is key to saving these young lives,” says Louise Driver, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust. “There is so much potential here, and that’s why we are raising funds to support the Milk Matters organisation. Together we can give some of the country’s youngest lives the chance of a healthy future.”

When a baby is born early, a lack of physical development and a compromised immune system leaves each young life exceptionally vulnerable – but there’s a simple solution. Expanding beyond the benefits of formula-based products, breastmilk contains all the nutrients an infant will need and is proven to reduce neonatal mortality.

Experts in human milk banking, Milk Matters is working to give premature newborns whose mother’s milk is unavailable, access to this life-saving resource. As partners of the Children’s Hospital Trust, the three year collaboration will see the team boost milk production by 45% and generate more than 5 000 litres for distribution. In addition, the team is also working with nurses from state neonatal facilities to give new mothers of premature infants the support they need to nurse their newborns.

Together, the Children’s Hospital Trust and Milk Matters hope to reach more than 5 000 newborns with this life-saving resource. As the world celebrates the 25th Anniversary of World Breastfeeding Week, the Trust would like to say “thank you” to all supporters for helping to make this life-saving work a reality.

Because breastmilk really does matter.

“Donor milk saved my son’s life. He weighed 985g when he was born at 27 weeks. It is because of your organisation [Milk Matters], and most of all your donors, that my son is healthy. His weight is 4.5kg at the moment – and getting fatter by the day.” – Mother of donor recipient, Milk Matters.


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