Initiative for HIV moms to feed babies safely

2011-06-06 00:00

THE 20 hospitals in western KZN will be able to teach new mothers flash pasteurisation thanks to a donation of nearly R500 000 from Rotary International and two-plate stoves worth R3 000 from Pick n Pay.

Every year, as many as 75 000 South African children die before they reach their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths (51%) are HIV related.

Speaking to The Witness during the stoves handover on Friday, Hennie de Bruin of Rotary said he approached Pick n Pay after he saw a stove on special there.

“I went to ask if they could sell the stoves to us at the sale price, but when I told them the story, the store manager decided to support the project by donating the stoves,” added De Bruin.

Flash pasteurisation includes expressing breast milk into a sterile jam jar. This jar is placed in a pot of water on a stove. The water is brought to a rolling boil. Thereafter the jar of milk is removed and allowed to cool before being given to the baby.

While this might be going against many people’s views of formula milk being the safer and preferable feeding option for HIV infected mothers, De Bruin said flash pasteurisation completely eliminates the risk of transmitting the HIV virus to the baby during breast-feeding.

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