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.
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.
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!”
The following feedback was received from Baby House, La Lucia:
Baby Gina arrived “failure to thrive”. We received breast milk for her for a few weeks and then weaned her onto formula when the supply ran out. She is now on formula. Healthy and growing well. At 10 weeks she was weighing 4.5kg!
Baby Gift arrived “malnourished”. He could not tolerate formula. Received breast milk. He is now weighing 5.5kg healthy and growing!
Both babies were prem and had breast milk for a short time. It made a dramatic difference. We would have loved to have kept them on breast milk for many more weeks. So excited to be able to start our own milk bank for babies who are placed in our care who desperately need breast milk.