Each year, more than 400 premature babies are born in Québec, 5 to 6% of whom contract an illness called necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious intestinal illness associated with a high mortality rate. Recourse to mothers’ milk available through a bank reduces the risk of developing this disease by up to 3 times. Héma-Québec provides mothers’ milk to hospitals offering specialized care in neonatology for infants born premature at 32 weeks or less, and who cannot be breastfed by their mother.
The Héma-Québec Public Mothers’ Milk Bank is the only one in North America using a model that combines transformation and qualification activities for blood and mothers’ milk within a single establishment.
The Héma-Québec Foundation provided financial support for the feasibility study ($68,000) as well as the launch of the Public Mothers’ Milk Bank ($500,000).