Health care workers at the University of Iowa aim to start the state’s first mother’s milk bank for premature infants early in 2002. Jean Drulis, in the U-of-I’s pediatrics department, is coordinating the effort to open the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa. Drulis says it’ll operate on principals much like a blood bank.The proposed milk bank would accept donations from lactating women in the Iowa City area who pass strict health screenings. The milk would be pooled, pasteurized and frozen, then made available to “pre-me” babies in hospital care. Initially, only infants in Iowa City would get the milk but it would eventually be distributed to hospitals statewide.Drulis says the first challenge is finding financial donors, as the milk bank would need 150-thousand dollars in its first year. There are only five such banks in America — none in the Midwest. A U-of-I survey finds 64-percent of Iowa mothers breast-feed, compared to a national average of 58-percent. For more information on the milk bank, call (319) 356-2652.
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