Experiences from the establishment of the first human milk bank in Viet Nam


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Institutt for sykepleie og helsefremmende arbeid

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Master i samfunnsernæring


Background: Mothers` milk is essential to cover nutritional needs for growing infants, especially for those who are premature or sick because they are at a greater risk of death than full term infants. Studies have shown that donor human milk is the best alternative for infants without access to own mothers milk. By establishing human milk banks, these infants have a better chance at survival and optimal development. Objectives: The over-all objectives in this master thesis is to describe experiences from the establishment of the first human milk bank (HMB) in Viet Nam. Background characteristics of the HMB in Viet Nam will be presented followed by a description of the experiences from the establishment. Method: Descriptive data was collected from the HMB in Da Nang Women’s and Children’s Hospital by Alive & Thrive (A&T) through a monitoring system. The data covers a seven month period from February to August 2017. Qualitative data was collected by observations from the field visit at the HMB and interviews eight informants from the HMB staff and staff from Alive & Thrive and PATH. Results: During the first seven months, the number of infants who started receiving pasteurized donor human milk (PDHM) increased with 2215 %. The amount of PDHM fed to infants increased with 1856 %. Fifty-six percent of all donor mothers were mothers of preterm infants. The main reasons for mothers to donate their breastmilk was a wish to “give back” since they previously had received PDHM. The HMB might have a positive effect on breastfeeding practices at the hospital due to increased awareness and information sharing. Challenges were donor recruitment from outside the hospital, getting funds for additional staff at the HMB and disposal of donor milk. Conclusion: There is a clear need for HMB’s in Viet Nam given the increasing numbers of infants receiving PDHM. Future studies might be needed to find productive ways to recruit donors from outside the hospital.




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  • https://hdl.handle.net/10642/5428