New milk bank established in Queensland for premature babies

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced the creation of a new federal government-funded breast milk bank that will open in Brisbane to supply hospitals across Queensland.

Minister Hunt said human milk was proven to lead to better health outcomes for premature and sick babies who couldn’t breastfeed.

“Without breast milk, premature babies spend longer in hospital and are at greater risk of infection and sepsis,” said Minister Hunt.

“They are also at great risk of contracting necrotising enterocolitis, a disease that has a tragically high mortality rate.

“Human milk banks collect, screen, process, and distribute donated human milk as a better alternative to infant formula for premature babies. It is estimated that the demand for human donor milk for premature babies is around 7,600 litres per year across the country.”

The federal government provided $2 million in the 2019-20 Budget to Lifeblood to expand its coordinated network of donor human milk banks.

Federal member for Brisbane, Trevor Evans, welcomed the opening of the milk bank.

“Lifeblood – in collaboration with the Queensland Milk Bank – has established the facility six months ahead of schedule,” said Mr Evans.

“Babies across a network of 19 Queensland hospitals are already receiving life giving human milk that is protecting their wellbeing.

“But that is only one part of the important work of the milk bank. The new Brisbane facility will also allow our leading scientists to undertake innovative research into new therapeutic applications using the bioactive compounds in milk.

“This work will develop new products to help premature and sick babies thrive.”

Lifeblood now supplies pasteurised donor human milk to 30 hospitals across four states. It is currently on track to provide all premature babies with donor human milk within the next 18 months.