Vietnam opens first human milk bank to help at-risk infants

By VnExpress   February 17, 2017 | 07:34 pm PT
Vietnam opens first human milk bank to help at-risk infants
Vietnamese children wave flags in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters/Carlos Barria
The government has taken various measures to increase the breastfeeding rate in Vietnam, which is significantly lower than other countries.

After one year of preparation, Vietnam’s first human milk bank was officially launched in the central city of Da Nang on Friday.

Located at the Da Nang Hospital for Women and Children, the bank aims to provide donor milk to 3,000 to 4,000 at-risk infants each year. It will also protect, promote and support breastfeeding by providing lactation support for mothers.

“Breastfeeding is the single most important factor in promoting child survival and good health," said Nguyen Duc Vinh from the Ministry of Health. "We hope that this first human milk bank ensures all babies in Da Nang can have access to lifesaving human milk, regardless of the circumstances in which they are born."

Da Nang’s milk bank is seen as the first movement of the government to bring about an equal chance of a healthy and successful life to children.

A survey conducted last year by the health ministry showed that the rate of Vietnamese infants exclusively breastfed for the first six months was more than 19 percent, significantly lower than the figures of Lao, at 40 percent, and Cambodia, at 60 percent.

The government has tried to improve the breastfeeding rate by increasing maternity leave from four to six months and issuing a ban on advertisements of formula products for children under two.

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