UNICEF donated a human milk pasteurizer to the Institute for Child and Youth Health Care of Vojvodina. The device is provided with the prompt support of the family-owned company Petite Geneve Petrović.
Novi Sad, 15 June 2023
- UNICEF donated a pasteurizer for donor human milk to the Institute for Child and Youth Health Care of Vojvodina, which was provided thanks to the donation of the company Petite Geneve Petrović. Breast milk is the ideal food for any newborn, however, in the absence of breast milk, donor milk is the second best choice for any child, particularly for prematurely born babies or severely ill newborns. On behalf of UNICEF Serbia, Jelena Kovačević handed over the pasteurizer to the director of the Institute, prof. Dr Jelena Antić and the head of the Neonatology Department, prof. Dr Slobodan Spasojević.
The Institute for Child and Youth Health Care from Novi Sad covers the territory of Vojvodina and takes care of all patients from newborns to 18 years of age.
“UNICEF is our constant and reliable partner, and the pasteurizer for treating human breast milk is a very valuable gift, because human, i.e. breast milk is the best for treating newborns, even at the earliest age”, said prof. Dr Jelena Antić, director of the Institute for Child and Youth Health Care of Vojvodina.
A milk bank was established at the Institute 10 years ago, and so far, more than 2.7 million litres of human milk intended for the treatment of patients have been pasteurized here. The Institute provides care for about 650 newborns annually, including prematurely born and full-term newborns and about 350 prematurely born or sick babies with life-threatening conditions.
“At some point, each of these 650 newborns receives milk from the human milk bank during their stay at the Institute. UNICEF reacted very promptly and with extreme commitment and managed to secure this crucial device for the milk bank in the shortest possible time, because without the pasteurizer, donor breast milk cannot be used for our patients”, said the head of the Neonatology Department, prof. Dr Slobodan Spasojević.
There are only two such devices in Serbia, one at the Institute of Neonatology in Belgrade and the other in Novi Sad. The milk bank is crucial for optimal nutrition and the progress of newborns, and the latest research indicates that nutrition is also a part of the treatment of newborns with life-threatening conditions.
“Breast milk is more than food and provides babies with the best foundation from the early days. We are grateful to the company Petit Geneve Petrović who supported us and thanks to the commitment of such partners from the private sector, we can build a more resilient society”, said Jelena Kovačević from UNICEF Serbia.
“In times like these, we feel the need to also support the most vulnerable members of our society – prematurely born babies. We supported UNICEF in their selfless struggle and commitment to a better future for the youngest, aware of the importance of the private sector’s role in creating a community where every child has a chance to achieve their potentials and make their dreams come true. As a socially responsible family business, we try to identify the various needs of our society and we deeply believe that joint action and different partners joining forces can lead to sustainable changes”, said Petar Petrović on behalf of the family-owned company PETITE GENÈVE PETROVIĆ.
The provided human milk pasteurizer is intended for children who are born prematurely, but also for children undergoing treatment at the Institute who cannot receive the mother’s breast milk because their mothers are not with them. The value of the donation is 4,850,000 dinars and it was provided as part of the Institute’s urgent appeal to UNICEF for support.
About 62,000 children are born in Serbia every year, of which slightly more than 4,000 are prematurely born babies, and every day 7 new babies require some form of urgent support. Since 2017, UNICEF, with the support of the Ministry of Health, has been working on modernizing and equipping Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Niš and Belgrade.