Grey’s Hospital gets PiAstra- January 2018.
This week, a PiAstra was delivered to Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A team from the maternity and neonatal units were trained in establishing and running a human milk.
On behalf of the PiAstra team we must thank the GSK/Save the Children Partnership for their support in making this project successful. The PiAstra team are constantly adding new innovations and developing support equipment and growing the project. We hope to be announcing our new innovation very soon so keep checking the website.
Another day in the life of PiAstra … GSK Visit in January 2018
One of our established PiAstra Human Milk Banks at Bethesda Hospital in northern KwaZulu-Natal, was selected as a site visited by Matthew MacCalla who is the Project Manager of the GSK/ Save the Children partnership who are responsible for various Global Health Programmes dedicated to saving children’s lives.
The very competent Bethesda Human Milk Bank Team have embraced the PiAstra pasteurization process with great enthusiasm and created their own key stage check points during the pasteurizing cycle. Their positive feedback on the use of the PiAstra and their dedication to ensuring all infants needing donor milk have access to it, was inspiring. The trip included feedback; checking equipment functionality; and considering possible improvements that could be included in software upgrades.
The demonstration was completed despite the fact that the hospital water supply had been cut. Emergency bottled water was on standby and saved the day. The real-life situation reminded us how water-friendly the PiAstra pasteurization system is which is so key at this time when many regions such as the Cape are experiencing serious water shortages.
A Day in The Life of Pi …………………….. Astra
Very exciting developments are taking place with the ongoing requests for new Human Milk Bank sites using the PiAstra pasteurization system.
The most recent new site was established in Harare, Zimbabwe, just before Christmas 2017. Noel Powell, from the University of KwaZulu- Natal, met with an enthusiastic team headed by Katinka Musavaya an IBCLC based in Harare. The team comprised of 3 paediatricians, medical and nursing staff. They were taken through the full pasteurization process with a hands on demonstration using the PiAstra and supporting equipment. Their dedication, enthusiasm and commitment will make this new site a huge success once they have gained approval and support from all the official role players.
Well done Zimbabwe, it was such a joy to be a part of your groundbreaking initiative to set up milk banking in your country. A second PiAstra unit has been requested by one of the visiting paediatricians for their hospital. A brief second visit was made by Dr Penny Reimers who met with Katinka to discuss some of the logistics of setting up a milk bank.
Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital
The PiAstra team were approached by the provincial Department of Health Nutrition, to provide training around human milk banking and the use of the high temperature and short time pasteurisation system, PiAStra, to the staff involved in caring for mothers and their infants at the hospital. As part of the GSK/ Save the Children award we were able to donate two PiAstra systems to the hospital. These will be used simultaneously as they expect to pasteurise large volumes of milk. Once the human milk bank is up and running, they may consider purchasing a larger unit to process bigger volumes of milk.
A group of medical managers, matrons, maternity and nursery staff which included infection control and laboratory staff gathered for the days training, which was conducted by Prof Anna Coutsoudis, Dr Penny Reimers and Mr Noel Powell, the developer of the PiAStra.
The training covered the importance of using donor human milk, supporting breastfeeding and the set up and documentation required for setting up and running of a human milk bank. The practical demonstration included a hands running of a pasteurisation cycle. There was a consensus that the system was quick and easy to use.
Rahima Moosa Hospital
The Dietetics team expressed an interest in acquiring a PiAstra to enable them to pasteurise donor human milk reliably and quickly for vulnerable infants. The GSK/Save the Children award enabled us to donate a PiAstra to the enthusiastic team.
A background into human milk banking and the importance of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding were included in the training provided. This was followed by a practical demonstration and hands on training on the use of the PiAstra. The team who would be using the equipment were instructed to follow the instructions displayed on the PiAstra touch screen with minimal help from the training team. Being such a user friendly system the full process was completed once then left to the group to complete more batches. This approach was hugely successful, demonstrating that PiAstra technology is very user friendly and very simple to use. Unskilled practitioners can pasteurize human milk with minimal supervision.
We have every confidence the team will be successful as they seek to meet the needs of vulnerable infants in their care at Rahima Moosa Hospital.
4 to 8 April 2017 – Piastra Training for Cameroon
PiAstra is perfect for all situations and when the electricity was down in the iThemba Lethu breastmilk bank where the training was scheduled to take place it was an easy thing to move the equipment to one of the training team member’s kitchen – no plumbing is needed and the equipment is very mobile.
2nd World Breast Feeding Conference
Presentations on Milk Banking in South Africa
and the introducing of PiAstra as a cost effective, simple to use and reliable way to pasteurize
donor breast milk for vulnerable infants.
MS MOLATELA TUKAKGOMO of the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria was the winner of the PiAstra and she is looking forward to donating it to her hospital.
Presented by Prof Anna Coutsoudis of University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
Originally a mission hospital, and retaining some of this ethos, Zithulele Hospital, is situated in a deeply rural part of the beautiful Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. They are a 147 bed district hospital providing primary health care services for a catchment area of 130 000 people where education levels are low and unemployment is high. Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are endemic.
Their vision to become a centre of excellence in rural health has been fulfilled through a group of committed well motivated staff who put their patients first. They provide high quality care to the community and local clinics.
In September 2016 Zithulele were recipients of a Pi Astra. In their words.
“Breastfeeding saves lives. It is one of the messages we’ve prioritised for over a decade. Some moms aren’t in the position to breastfeed, however if their babies are preterm or malnourished this can be a life and death issue. Now we are the excited recipients of a Pi-Astra human milk pasteurizer. Our human milk bank awaits its first official donor (up till now it’s always been rather ad hoc, usually a breastfeeding clinical team member), but thanks to Prof Coutsoudis and her team, who received a GSK/Save the Children award to roll these out, we’re up and running!”
iThemba Lethu Breastmilk Bank began 16 years ago and was the first community based human milk bank to open in South Africa. It is situated in Manor Gardens, Durban in a transition home for babies orphaned or abandoned as a result of HIV. Many of the babies arrive ill and malnourished. Prof Anna Coutsoudis, who headed up the NGO, realized that giving these babies donor breastmilk would go a long way to address many of the problems they were experiencing and provide them with optimum nutrition. So with funding from UNICEF, the human milk bank was opened. Over the years it has substantially improved the quality of life of the babies at the home, they have gained weight and thrived.
Although the Bank is equipped with a Sterifeed Pasteurizer enabling the pasteurizing of large volumes of milk, the cycle is time consuming and is not practical to use when a small amount of milk needs to be urgently pasteurized. In August 2016, the iThemba Lethu Breastmilk Bank was the recipient of a Pi Astra pasteurizing system, thanks to the GSK/Save The Children Health Innovation Award. This compact, ingenious user-friendly pasteurizing system has facilitated quick pasteurising of small quantities of breast milk for babies placed in the home and in private/public hospitals around the greater Durban area. In addition it has allowed the Bank to be a demonstration site for other smaller organizations that want to set up human milk banks with PiAstra pasteurization systems.