Kathmandu: The first-ever human milk bank in Nepal was inaugurated in Kathmandu by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Friday.

This is the first-ever human milk bank of the Himalayan nation set at a maternity and women’s hospital to give premature and other at-risk infants access to the vast benefits of breast milk.

The milk bank, ‘Amrit Kosh,’ is set at the Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital.

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The bank has the facilities to collect, pasteurise, test, and store safe donor human milk from lactating mothers.

The milk can then be provided to infants in need.

The government of Nepal, the European Union and UNICEF have set up the bank in partnership.

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It may be mentioned that infants face the highest risk of dying in their first month of life.

Premature and low birth-weight babies face an even greater risk of dying.

As per the Nepal Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (NMICS) 2019, the neonatal mortality rate (number of deaths per 1,000 live births during the first 28 days of life) in Nepal is 16.

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