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EMBA International Milk Banking Congress 2017

Date of Event: 05/10/2017 | -

Conference delegates were first welcomed by EMBA President Professor Jean-Charles Picaud who gave a warm address to the delegates who had come to Glasgow from four continents.  He was followed by an insightful view of the world of human milk banking and the development of milk banking in Scotland given as part of the official conference opening by very special guest Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport.  Ms Campbell’s speech was followed by the first of the presentations, Human Milk Banking in a Global World, given by Kimberly Amundson-Manson of PATH (Programme for Alternative Technologies in Health), an NGO based in Seattle North America that actively supports human milk banking in many countries around the world.

The topics covered by the speakers were broadly classified into the following sessions throughout the two days:

  • Human milk banking in support of global health
  • Human milk for nutrition of preterm infants
  • Treatment of donor human milk
  • Human milk research
  • Epidemiology and support of breast feeding
  • Global milk banking and
  • Human milk and microorganisms

In addition to the invited speakers, both of the days included many short presentations chosen by members of the EMBA board from amongst the many submissions sent in response to the call made earlier in the year. The organisers were delighted to be able to once again include widely varying, fascinating and stimulating topics. These ranged from the survival of oligosaccharides in human milk following pasteurisation (from Nam Mi, Republic of Korea) and high pressure processing  (Wesolowska, Poland) to an evaluation study of comprehensive lactation management centres in Mumbai  (Mondkar, India) and the impact of donor human milk on the intestinal microbiota of premature newborns (Gormaz, Spain).

Conference dinner delegates being serenaded with a traditional Scottish welcome


A similar call for posters resulted in 36 accepted posters and once again the breadth of topics covered highlighted the diversity of interests of those who work within the field of human milk banking. The conference organisers decided this year to reward the high standards of the submitted posters by offering a prize to the poster judged to be the best over the 2 days. For more details of the poster competition and the prize winning poster click here.

Since the first event in Vienna in pre-official EMBA days, organized to help celebrate the centenary of human milk banks, EMBA have provided an international congress on alternate years in Lisbon, Istanbul, Lyon and most recently Glasgow. These have without doubt become a ‘go to’ event for milk bankers, neonatal clinicians with a special interest in nutrition and human milk specialists.  This is as a result of the EMBA combination of well-chosen speakers covering wide-ranging topics as well of course as a result of great venues, the opportunities to network and a well planned social dinner.

Glasgow was no exception and whilst the local organisers knew they couldn’t promise great weather they were certain they could provide an unforgettable welcome. And so it proved to be.  Local milk bank coordinator  and former midwife Debbie Barnett is a member of the EMBA board of directors.  Debbie and her colleagues from the One Milk Bank for Scotland based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital worked with the local tourism team to ensure that not only was the venue central and very comfortable but that many of the conference delegates were afforded the opportunity to visit the milk bank (visits which were very well received). In addition, a few of the fine Glasgow restaurants were visited to taste some of the local Scottish specialties. However the highlight of the social programme was most definitely the piped welcome that took place at the City Hall, a  stunningly beautiful building which boasts more marble than even the Vatican.

For further details of the events that took place in Glasgow see the official programme link.
Glasgow 5-6 ottobre 2017_AGG 20 09

Dr Natalie Shenker about to start her presentation.


If you were with us in Scotland we will look forward to seeing you again at our next International Congress which will be held in Turin, Italy at the end of October/beginning of November 2019.  If you were unable to come to Glasgow in 2017 we hope you will be able to join EMBA at our next international event.  Please ensure you keep an eye on the website for the final dates which will be posted by the end of May 2018 together with news of additional meetings and conferences organized or attended by EMBA. And don’t forget that EMBA members have access to the pdfs of most of the presentations and posters not only from Glasgow but also from previous congresses via a special members only section on the website.  Your membership plays a vital role in supporting the organisation of future events so please join now by following the ‘Join Us’ link on the homepage.

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