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Iran opens first human milk bank

The first human milk bank in Iran was recently opened in the Alzahra Teaching Hospital  of TABRIZ affiliated to Tabriz University of Medical Sciences ( TUOMS).  TABRIZ   is the capital city of East Azerbaijan province in  the North West of  Islamic Republic of Iran. The city is famous in Iran as the ” City of the firsts” because many innovations and new activities at a national level have started from this city. The opening and  inauguration ceremony of the HM bank was held  on 15 July, 2016. This ceremony was attended by a number of local and ministerial authorities including Dr. Mrandi (Head of the Academy of Medical Sciences), Dr. Pezeshkian (Iranian Parliament’s Vice President), Dr. Will Parks (UNICEF Representative in Iran), Dr. Motlagh (Chairman of the Demographic and Health Department), Dr. Somi (TUOMS Chancellor), and the head and members of the Iranian association for promoting breastfeeding.


The first aim of the milk bank is the  preparation of donor human milk for preterm and high risk infants in the Alzarah Teaching Hospital but as activities are expanded the bank will support 2  other main  university hospitals with large  NICUs  in the city.  The Alzahra Teaching Hospital is a maternity hospital and is a referral center for high risk pregnancies  in the north west of the country with around 10,000 deliveries per year. The hospital NICU  is a level 3 facility and is  the largest  in north west  IRAN  and the second largest in the country.  It houses  50 NICU beds as well as 35  in  the Neonatal ward and the staff care for around 800-900 infants per year in the NICU alone.  The neonatal unit is one of four units in the country selected by UNICEF for the establishment of NIDCAP ( Newborn Individualized Developmental Care And Assessment Program ). WThe hospital also has a long history of breast feeding support and the use of KMC.


The milk bank is located on the second floor of the hospital near to the Laboratory unit. Guidelines from the HMBANA are used for screening the donors, collecting and testing the milk, pasteurization and storing the milk.  Two trained staff work in the Bank (one nurse and one assistant nurse) and they work under the supervision of the Clinical Director in the Department of Neonatology, Dr Mohammad Bagher  Hosseini 

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