Students from Puducherry have developed a human breast milk vending machine, which they have named as 'Amudham Thaippal Maiyam' or ATM on the lines of Automated Teller Machine.
The students from the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research developed the machine.
The words, Amudham, Thaippal and Maiyam stand for nectar, breastfeeding and center in Tamil language.
The breast milk bank has been set up to cater to the needs of pre-term babies (who are born prematurely) or with low birth weight. In some cases, the mothers are physiologically not able to breastfeed, in which case the need to have a human milk bank is important.
Such babies, according to health experts, need extra nourishment. The breast milk banks come in handy under these circumstances.
Jipmer, Director, S C Parija told India Today that of the 1,500 babies that are born every month at the Institute, 30 per cent of them are of low birth weight and mostly pre-term.
"Such banks must be set up in all neonatal intensive care unit facilities considering the complications associated with formula feeding of underweight and tiny preterm babies. These babies cannot be breastfed till they are six months old. If mother's milk is unavailable or insufficient, the next option is to use pasteurized donor human milk," Parija told the Times of India.
In Delhi, the first pasteurised human milk bank was established in April at Fortis Hospital to address the health challenges of pre-term and under-weight babies.