Brazilian Women Start Breast Milk Drive

Women in Brazil donate their excess breast milk to babies who don’t get enough from their mothers

Malnutrition affects 55 million children worldwide and is the cause of the deaths of over three million children each year. But it is preventable, and mothers in Brazil are showing us how. By donating their extra breast milk to babies in need, they believe they have found a method for fighting malnutrition in children, according to BBC.

In Brazil, many babies whose mothers cannot produce enough milk to feed them are fed through tubes filled with donated breast milk. Premature births, health problems, or just insufficient lactation, are all reasons that a mother might not be able to produce enough milk. Mothers who can supply more than enough breast milk donate theirs, instead.

Over 200 milk banks operate in Brazil, making this program the largest and most successful program of its kind in the world. Danielle Silva, a quality control coordinator for the Brazilian Network of Human Milk Banks, says the program is relatively cheap.

Due to Brazilian government policies and promotions supporting these kinds of programs that aim to reduce hunger and malnutrition, the number of child deaths in Brazil has decreased significantly. Brazil has even exceeded the Millennium Goal of reducing the number of child deaths by 73 percent.  

“Mortality rates are going down and breast-feeding rates are going up," says Silva.

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Other countries can learn from Brazil while searching for methods of reducing global hunger and malnutrition.