As South Africans celebrate Human Rights Day on 21 March 2016, the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) urges communities not to forget babies’ rights.
Breastfeeding activist and executive director of SABR, Stasha Jordan, says, “Babies cannot stand up and protest when their rights are violated and they cannot speak for themselves, but they have rights just like the rest of us.” Communities are being urged to educate one another about the basic rights babies and children have, enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Talking specifically about the right to basic nutrition, Jordan says that the healthiest and most economical diet for babies is to be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life. “Research shows that breastfeeding is nutritionally superior to formula,” says Jordan.
A new report* in the Lancet Medical Journal, published in January this year, states that the lives of 823 000 children worldwide under the age of five could be saved annually, and about 20 000 breast cancer deaths could be prevented, if every child was breastfed. The researchers described breast milk as a ‘personalised medicine for infants.’ Jordan adds that breast milk is even more critical for the survival of babies born prematurely or those admitted to hospital with various complications.
The South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR)
SABR collects and redistributes donated breastmilk throughout a network comprising of 87 participating Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) in hospitals around the country. The donated breast milk is fed to Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) babies that are unable to breastfeed normally and whose mothers struggle to lactate due to maternal complications. These babies desperately require the perfect mix of nutrients contained in breast milk, as it helps them to better fight infections and reach normal stages of development. “Breastfeeding mothers who have excess supply are encouraged to donate breastmilk at SABR centres. These donations play a key role in saving babies’ lives and protecting their rights,” concludes Jordan.
How to get involved:
Help alleviate the challenges faced by the SABR, including low breastfeeding rates in South Africa, sourcing donor mothers, and funding for the operation of the milk-banks. Call 011 482 1920, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit www.sabr.org.za.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN BREASTMILK RESERVE