Sao Paulo, August 2020. Lactare, Eurofarma’s human milk bank and the first conceived by a pharmaceutical company in Brazil, celebrates its first anniversary in August by breaking another record in donations – 106 liters in June, amounting to approximately 500 liters collected since its creation. All the liquid is sent to Hospital Geral de Itapevi and helps save the lives of 30 babies admitted to the neonatal ICU on a monthly basis.
Lactare currently relies on 95 donor mothers. “When a mother donates breast milk, she’s donating a new life to an ICU newborn. There’s evidence that babies fed with breast milk are discharged earlier. This is already a source of great pride for us,” said Maíra Billi, Production Management Manager and project creator.
The space had a goal of processing 60 liters of human milk/month, which was reached in April this year, even with the covid-19 pandemic. “We had plenty to be glad about this month. The company strongly aspired to reaching this goal and such an amount of liters per month is the result of efforts by donor mothers and the daily commitment to premature babies who are in serious need of these donations at Hospital Geral de Itapevi. This food helps save the lives of these newborn babies,” the executive celebrated.
The project has new goals for next year. Researchers are studying new ways of increasing donation volumes by turning liquid milk into powdered milk through a freeze-drying process. In this new presentation form, milk can be stored for much longer and delivered to more distant regions.
Did you know?
Rigorous procedures are performed to assure quality all the way from the donor mother’s home to the baby hospitalized in the ICU. After being collected by Lactare healthcare professionals at the mothers’ homes, the milk goes through an external hygiene process and is stored in the “raw milk freezer.” On the day of processing, it goes through a thaw, after classification and pasteurization, where thermal lethality occurs.
The next step is microbiological quality, which consists of a culture in appropriate means for bacteria, called 2% Bright Green Lactose Bile (BGLB), in which samples are incubated at 36ºC for 24 to 48 hours. After all these procedures, the milk goes to the “distribution milk freezer” and, 48 hours later, is labeled with the donor’s and quality data, as well as with its nutritional properties (such as calorie grade), and is taken to the hospital.
The importance of breast milk
Breast milk is the main nutrition source for newborns and the only food recommended for babies up to six months of age. In addition, it is responsible for reducing mortality from preventable causes by up to 13% in children under five years of age. It is rich in proteins and vitamins, a source of hydration and immunity for babies, and helps reduce the risk of diarrhea, respiratory infections, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
Lactare Human Milk Bank
Lactare is evidence of Eurofarma’s pioneering social role. Launched in August 2019, it is the first laboratory to set up a private human milk bank in the country. Its main purpose is to reinforce the importance of breastfeeding for child development. The project is linked to the Brazilian Network of Human Milk Banks (rBLH), in partnership with the City of Itapevi. According to Fiocruz, coordinator of rBLH-BR, there are about 225 human milk bank units in Brazil, which currently meet 60% of the demand.
Lactare also provides medical care to donor mothers. The medical officer performs online appointments (due to the pandemic), tests are collected at home, and there is a service to answer questions in real time, via mobile app or phone. In addition, a member of the technical team (doctor, nurse, or nutritionist) accompanies the driver on home visits to provide guidance on how to collect the milk and exchange a full collection kit for a new one, always taking all preventive measures to avoid the coronavirus.
Breastfeeding mothers can donate their excess milk and help nourish newborn babies. Home collections can be made within a radius of up to 20km from downtown Itapevi. Go to www.eurofarma.com.br/bancodeleite for more information and to register.
About Eurofarma Group
As the first multinational pharmaceutical company with 100% Brazilian capital, the Eurofarma Group has been operating in the health industry since its establishment in 1972, producing and marketing innovative products and services to improve people’s quality of life. Focused on generating shared value, it operates in the areas of Prescription, Non-Prescription, and Generic Drugs, Hospital, Oncology and Veterinary. In Brazil alone, it offers 313 products, 649 dosage forms, serves 25 medical specialties and covers 89 therapeutic classes, which represent 81% of prescriptions in the brand market.
The Eurofarma Group has own operations in 20 countries, with an industrial park in Brazil and plants in 6 more Latin American countries. Reported sales totaled BRL 5.6 billion in 2019 and the Group employs over 7,000 employees.