Use of Low Technology for Donor Breast Milk Banking
Kiersten Israel-Ballard of PATH in the U.S., in partnership with University of Washington and Human Milk Banking (HMB) Association of South Africa, will work to develop and test a low-cost, cell-phone-based networked sensing system to provide safety monitoring of low-technology flash- heating pasteurization of breast milk designated for donation. The goal is to scale-up human milk banking for vulnerable infants in resource-limited settings. In Phase I, in collaboration with users, they designed a device to pasteurize milk that could also monitor the process and wirelessly connect to an Android application, which could store donor information and print reports and bottle labels. Its performance was tested in human milk banks in South Africa, and training was provided to mothers to promote the acceptance of community-based milk banks. In Phase II, they will expand implementation of their device to establish ten, new, small-scale human milk banks in South Africa, and assess whether it enhances the pasteurization process by retaining valuable immune properties in the milk. They will also develop a related diagnostic tool to test for donor milk contamination onsite by untrained staff, and begin technology commercialization for long-term production.