Human milk banks are on the rise
In the beginning, although it still occurs in many countries, human milk was sold and seen as an inflow of money in highly vulnerable populations. Today, it is an altruistic act performed by thousands of women in the world. Although it is still an income of money for many, others do it in order to save the life of a baby.
Since Theodor Escherich invented human milk banks, the population has considerably improved the lives of their newborns, ensuring that there is food for the normal development of their immune system. This man, who also discovered Escherichia coli, assured that there was nothing like breast milk to promote the development of the baby.
It was the pediatric hospital in Vienna that created the Association for Infant Care where it started a School of Nursing and the first human milk bank in 1909. From this moment, breast milk banks have spread throughout Europe. In 1980, WHO and UNICEF were the first to declare donated breast milk as the main biological nutritional support in newborns. It should be noted that with the increase in AIDS and that at that time it was not as investigated as it is today, a large part of the human milk banks were closed as a precaution.
However, at present they have re-emerged as something of vital importance to lower the mortality rate in newborns. In many places it is done on a voluntary basis, in others they have a voluntary collection service and another paid service, but this depends on the human milk bank the women go to.
Now, Kenya has launched its first human milk bank to fight malnutrition. For now, there is a debate between whether it is an act considered altruistic or should be remunerated, since women who come to sell their breast milk are generally in a disadvantaged situation, put their own children at risk and only seek to help a woman who has enough money to buy other mothers' milk.
The debate will remain open until it is the nursing mothers themselves who determine their destiny in what can become an act of humanity or a profitable business.