About us

The SABR is an award-winning, not-for-profit, human milk-banking organisation, founded in 2003, that has supported the healthcare system and the community of breastfeeding mothers in South Africa for the last 15 years through programmes involving: scientific research, advocacy and awareness, government regulatory programmes and the provision of safe, nutritious, donated breastmilk.



MILK BY NUMBERS

2969
Infants fed human milk last year
1158
Number of donors supplying breastmilk each year
70
Hospitals supported with human milk banking services
19366
Number of premature babies helped since 2003
27
Number of SABR human milk banking hospital facilities
24
Situated in Public Hospitals
2
Additional collection centres
1
Reserve bank
21818
Units of breastmilk distributed country wide

*The above statistics are from research undertaken by the SABR for the years 2017 and 2018.


Vision and Mission

The organisation was born out of the realisation that South Africa displays a great disparity in provision and access to healthcare services, especially for premature infants and is dedicated to sustainable human development by:

  • promoting the responsible, ethical bearing and raising of physically and mentally healthy children;
  • advocating and supporting exclusive breastfeeding as part of a holistic approach to ensuring equitable access to healthcare in low-resourced areas; and
  • advocating the health rights of mothers and their children under five years old in their communities and the work place.

We achieve this through constant clinical, technological and managerial innovation in collaboration with medical professionals, university researchers, engineers, IT providers and transport enterprises, as well as breastfeeding activism through active participation in social health networks and co-operation with relevant government departments.

Sustainable development

In 2018 the South African Breastmilk Reserve is a national NPO comprising 24 public sector human milk banks, 2 collection corners and one reserve bank that supports 70 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) country wide. In 15 years, the SABR established 44 processing and distribution facilities, and handed over a number of human milk banks that were absorbed into parallel human milk-banking initiatives, leading to sustainable and independent services.

SABR receives grants from five Provincial Departments of Health and from Discovery that has funded the renovation of human milk banks since 2015. Furthermore, we cost recover the processing of donated breastmilk for private patients in private hospital facilities, thus addressing the sustainability of the organisation directly as well as the demand for this emergency intervention.

In 2003, our Feed for Life Initiative started out by supplying one orphanage with DBM; now, it is the largest human milk-banking partner to South Africa’s National Department of Health. The organisation has achieved this largely through the support of government grants, donor funding and, recently, through a more sustainable, cost-recovery model.

During the period 2014-15, SABR improved the lives of 2,845 premature infants. This was a 67.8% increase compared with the previous year.

During the period 2016-17, a number of human milk banks were absorbed into parallel human milk-banking initiatives aligned with the proposed regulatory framework.

The SABR is a key advisor to the National Department of Health in drafting the proposed Regulatory Framework for Human Milk Banking, and supports a variety of advocacy and communications efforts aimed at promoting breastfeeding in society and the work place.

The SABR further engages in coalition building and stakeholder strengthening activities as a co-chair of the South African Civil Society for Women’s Adolescents’ and Children’s Health (http://sacsowach.org/index.php/partners), a Coalition of Civil society organizations working with the National Department of Health as an advocacy group leveraging policy that supports better health outcomes for SA. The SABR in partnership with Gateway Health Institute, Save the Children and Path, drives the Dare2Care community Initiative a grassroots anti-diarrhoeal project funded by UNICEF.

Beneficiaries

The SABR functions as a co-ordinating body for the equitable distribution of life-saving DBM country wide and is geared towards delivering DBM to every part of South Africa within 24 to 48 hours, whilst ensuring that it is of the highest quality and meets regulatory standards. The SABR follows a universal guideline that includes all infants below 37 weeks’ gestation. The largest amount of donor breastmilk is directed to public hospital facilities.The SABR currently supports breastfeeding mothers in rural areas in Lusikisiki, Umthatha, Queenstown, Upington, Kimberley, Mafikeng, Vryburg, Dihlabeng, Phuthaditjhaba and Mankweng.

Partnerships

The SABR has evolved quality systems and technologies that are local and sustainable, we understand the beneficiaries of our work and work in close partnership with a wide stakeholder base ranging from technical experts, engineers, civil society organisations, government organisations and academic institutions. The SABR research programme comprises a number of projects and studies related to promoting breastfeeding and the supply of hygienic, safe and nutritious donated breastmilk for neonates at risk.

The SABR is also an advisory member of three technical working groups at the National Department of Health and the author of the Standard Operating Procedures informing the Proposed Regulatory Framework for Human Milk Banking in South Africa.

Innovation

The SABR pioneered the human milk-banking concept in South Africa. The SABR’s strength lies in developing innovative ways to apply research findings to the improved delivery of health services ranging from quality research aimed at developing rapid testing methods for donated breastmilk, to the design of mobile ECD clinics with the vision of supporting mothers and children in under-served, impoverished communities.

Best Practice

The SABR supports best practice by providing facilities that:

  • Support the altruistic collection, processing and distribution of donated breastmilk, safely and hygienically, nation wide.
  • Support breastfeeding mothers in a dignified manner and assist with the expressing of breastmilk for NICU patients primarily.
  • Provide ongoing communication and education to the public on breastfeeding topics such as “breastfeeding in the work place? through a variety of media ranging from community radio and newspapers, national media and social media.
  • Conduct ongoing research into innovative, clinical, technological and managerial techniques for supporting lactation, and improving the quality management of stored/donated breastmilk (DBM) that are suitable for low-resourced settings.
  • Lobby at government as well as grass-roots levels in support, promotion and protection of breastfeeding.

The SOStainer Project is the latest initiative by the SABR in extending its life-saving services in rural areas. The SOStainer Clinic is a versatile facility designed for low-resourced settings that aims to bring primary healthcare services, and comprehensive Early Childhood Development programmes closer to under-served households. The SOStainer Clinics will provide the basis for a holistic, community-based care programme that will include:

  • Breastfeeding support and nutrition,
  • Immunisation
  • Collecting, pasteurising and distributing DBM
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • Nutrition support 
  • 5 pillars of Child Development
  • Home visits for the near-by community

Despite great success over the years, the task is ongoing and requires continuous learning and improvement. With your continued help - through donating breastmilk, sponsorship or simply using your car to help with collections and deliveries - we hope to reach even more children in need than ever before.
 





Stasha Jordan,
Executive director and founder of SABR

To get involved, call 011 482 1920
or e-mail info@sabr.org.za
You can also find us on Facebook
and follow us on Twitter @SABRmilk