Human milk bank in emergency – donor milk as a bridge to mothers own milk.

22 June 2023 at 17:30-19.00

Human milk bank in emergency – donor milk as a bridge to mothers own milk.

Thanks to the human milk banking, it is possible to feed babies born prematurely and hospitalized for a long time with human milk. However, in a crisis, human milk bank resources should also be available to children born at term, who, for various reasons, cannot be breastfed by their biological mothers. Milk banks should be involved in humanitarian aid directed to mothers of infants affected by a crisis. During the last webinar within the series “Supporting mothers in feeding children in a crisis”, dr. Kiersten Israel-Ballard and Kimberly Mansen will present global standards for the operation of human milk banks, the dynamics of their development and system limitations affecting unequal access to banked milk. Alessandro Iellamo will sho, how the potential of milk banks can be used in crisis situations. And dr. hab. Aleksandra Wesołowska will share her experience how, although human milk was available in milk banks, it was not given to children of mothers who were forbidden to breastfeed due to SARS-COV-2 or active COVID-19 infection. Unfortunately, in Poland the infrastructure of milk banks was not used to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Children and their mothers suffered for procedural reasons – we cannot allow this to happen in the future.z powodów proceduralny – nie możemy dopuścić do takiej sytuacji w przyszłości.


Alessandro Iellamo

Alessandro Iellamo is the senior emergency nutrition adviser for Family Health International 360 (Fhi360) supporting and a maternal, infant, and young child nutrition specialist. He has extensive expertise in nutrition and infant and young child feeding (IYCF) policies and practices, particularly in emergencies, the WHO International Code, BFHI, the Operational Guidance for Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies and other global tools. He has worked with the WHO’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) on the International Code and assisted the International Baby Food Action Network with the development of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTI) and the World Breastfeeding Costing Tool (WBCi) and IYCF policy tools. He has also been involved in research on maternal, IYCF policies, practices, and programmes, including work environments, International Code implementation, and financial aspects of the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy on IYCF. His expertise in nutrition, emergency nutrition, and IYCF has supported humanitarian work in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia and South-East Asia. He has led the development of recent IYCF-E tools and guidance documents and facilitated international and national policies and guidance development processes. Recently, he has been engaged with IYCF related policy issues in high-income countries including Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Australia, and Japan. Alessandro has led the planning, organization and facilitation of webinars and workshops, including the independent dialogue hosted by the Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions and the ANU Gender Institute at the Australian National University. At the same time has provide support for the development of the Mother’s Milk Tool and the ongoing development of the Green Feeding Tool.

Dr Kiersten Israel-Ballard, DrPH

is Team Lead for PATH’s Integrated Maternal and Child Health and Development program and Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington. She has over 20 years of experience in assessing and supporting methods for optimal infant and young child feeding. Her work has largely focused on conceptualizing appropriate infant feeding methods for vulnerable infants in developing countries, including HIV affected infants. In her current role, Dr. Israel-Ballard leads the human milk initiative at PATH. This has included developing an integrated newborn nutrition model, establishing global teams for working with local governments to ensure sustainable implementation, conducting advocacy for human milk banking as a cost-effective strategy for improving health of vulnerable infants, establishing a global technical advisory group, leading rigorous evaluations to determine impact, and developing innovative human milk banking technologies for resource-limited settings. She has also led programs to support implementation of nutrition programs for local governments and partners and focuses on innovative approaches to improve infant health through identifying and assessing the feasibility of novel technologies. She has considerable international experience, working at all health levels in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Vietnam and India.

Kimberly Mansen, MSPH, RDN

Kimberly Mansen, MSPH, RDN is a Nutrition Technical Lead with PATH’s Integrated Maternal and Child Health and Development program. She is trained as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, having experience both clinically and in the global health field. She currently focuses on improving maternal, infant, and young child nutrition, particularly by strengthening systems to improve maternal lactation support and to ensure all infants receive human milk, including vulnerable neonates. She helps to lead PATH’s Newborn Nutrition portfolio, including human milk banking activities and consisting of implementation, advocacy, research, and innovation. Her work at PATH has spread across multiple settings, including South Africa, Vietnam, Kenya, and India. Previous to PATH, she served as a Field Coordinator for Operations Research for ensuring food security in the Democratic Republic of Congo with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

dr hab. n. o zdr. Aleksandra Wesołowska

President of the Human Milk Bank Foundation and head of the Laboratory for Research on Human Milk and Lactation at the Regional Milk Bank at the St. Family Specialized Hospital in Warsaw and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Warsaw Medical University. Head of the project entitled "Support and promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate feeding practices for infants and young children of Ukrainian and Polish mothers in Poland in a crisis situation" commissioned by the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF. Scientifically, she deals with issues related to the dependence of milk composition on diet and environmental factors, methods of preserving breast milk. She also addresses topics arising from societal needs such as milk banks, safety of vaccinations during lactation, risk of COVID-19 maternal infection, and child nutrition in emergencies.


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