In South Africa Milk banks existed informally in many hospitals, but these were also closed as a result of HIV/AIDS as donors were not screened and milk was not pasteurised before it was administered to infants. The discovery that the Holder Method of pasteurisation killed the HIV virus, resulted to milk banks again opening, but with strict screening procedures for donor mothers and the pasteurisation of all donor milk.
In 2000 Prof. Anna Coutsoudis, from the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, started the iThemba Lethu Breast Milk Bank in Durban to feed babies orphaned or abandoned as a result of HIV. UNICEF provided money for the first pasteruiser and the while adoptive families were sought, these babies received donor milk and this made a remarkable difference in the quality of their lives.
Prof. Coutsoudis then assisted with the establishment of milk banking in the Western Cape (Milk Matters) in 2001/2 and then breast milk banking in Gauteng (South African Breast Milk Reserve).