Chennai: India is said to have recorded the highest number of preterm births in the world, equating to around 35 lakh every year. The statistics are from the World Health Organization, which also add that preterm births are considered the prime reasons for neonatal deaths.
It is also the second leading cause of all child deaths under five years of age in the country, the WHO adds.
However, when it comes to Tamilnadu, there are several studies that show that the southern State is faring well, compared to its counterparts. Statistics show that the neonatal mortality rate in the State is 17 for every 1,000 births. But there is always scope for improvement in healthcare, say experts.
Reports show that 27 per cent of neonatal deaths is caused by preterm birth, which is higher than other stipulated causes. Prematurely born babies are at risk of developing conditions such as necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), diarrhoea, tetanus, etc.
Research has shown that the nutrients and antibodies present in breast milk can nurture a healthy child. Owing to several causes, the country ranks low in breastfeeding practices.
To meet the nutritional needs of preterm children, as an alternative to human milk, NeoLacta has come up with pasteurised breast milk that is on a par with the natural alternative.
Talking about it, managing director, NeoLacta Life Sciences, Saurabh Agarwal, said, “There is a special requirement of nutrients for preterm babies. Understanding the need and to help them get a good source of nutrition, we extract cream from the breast milk that is collected through the human milk bank. The cream, rich in nutrition, is then added to a large portion of human milk, thus the energy content is increased, meeting the needs of the infant and still provide a 100 per cent mother’s milk product.”
Though mothers prefer feeding their child with breast milk, Saurabh says that the protein content is still inadequate in certain cases for which doctors add bovine-based fortifier. To make it natural, NeoLacta Life Sciences is all set to launch human milk fortifier.
“With the solution that we have come up with, doctors do not have to add an extra fortifier. With careful screening of the collected milk from the bank, we have made our product. Doctors can use the solution directly, instead of adding bovine-based fortifier which can evade quite a lot of medical conditions. It is also proved that the risk of getting NEC has come down to 70 per cent if a pure mother’s milk solution is used,” added Saurabh, who hails from a dairy processor building background.
“We have partnered with NGOs across south India who are involved in mother and child welfare programmes to source breast milk,” he said.
Explaining about the screening process, he continued, “We strictly follow a 10-point screening method, which begins from recruiting the donor, serological testing, storing the collected milk in an optimum temperature and a quality check analysis. We strictly adhere to the norms set by the government to ensure a safe product is manufactured.”
To take the products closer to people of various strata, NeoLacta Life Sciences has introduced it in a few private hospitals in Chennai and plans to take it to the rural areas by launching awareness programmes about the medical conditions that the infants get affected by.