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A round up of Milk Banking News from Poland

The Polish National Health Service has established a financial ‘correction factor’ (which can be interpreted as a form of incentive) for hospitals where human milk (mother’s own or donor milk) is the dominant way of feeding preterm infants. The sum of money provided covers the running costs of the milk bank.

This has resulted in what has been described as an “explosion” of new milk banks in Poland. The new milk bank in Wroclaw  was opened at the end of 2016. The next ones will be in Rzeszów (the largest city in south eastern Poland) and Lwow (also known as Lviv – located in western Ukraine, around 70 kilometres from the border with Poland). This milk bank has benefited from Polish-Ukrainian cross border cooperation.

The Agency for Health Technology Assessment  has decided to evaluate the cost of  human milk banking based on data from Regional Milk Banks in Toruń and Warsaw.

17nov_day_poland

The Polish Human Milk Bank Foundation was proudly represented at the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) congress, held by WHO and UNICEF in Geneva on 24-26 October 2016. The reimbursement mechanisms established in Poland have been publicly praised as providing a role model by Francesco Branca, Director of the Nutrition for Health and Development Department  (NHD) of WHO and hailed as an example for those wishing to explore similar initiatives in other countries.

Finally, an event took place in Warsaw in recognition of World Prematurity Day on the 17 November 2016.  Entitled ‘Human milk as a therapy for preterms’ the day was  celebrated under the patronage of Agata Kornhauser-Duda, wife of the President of Poland. The meeting for over 100 guests took place in the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. Among those invited were delegates from the active as well as the planned human milk banks in Poland, regional consultants for neonatology, officials of the Ministry of Health, human milk donors  and parents of recipients of donor milk. A group of talented children that had been born prematurely were also guests at the event which was co-organized by the Human Milk Bank Foundation.

Two discussion panels took place on the day in addition to the celebrations. During the first, medical experts and practitioners discussed the health benefits and the therapeutic use of human milk together with future plans for developing further lactaria/milk banks in Poland. The second panel focused on sharing personal experiences and motivations related to working in and cooperating with human milk banks.

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