Breast milk pasteurisation app streamlines donation process

FoneAstra is an app designed to ensure the quality of donated breast milk, saving the lives of hundreds of babies.
The app is a low-cost, step-by-step guide and monitoring app.
The app is a low-cost, step-by-step guide and monitoring app.

Following the age-old tradition of milk banking, the Human Milk Banking Association of South Africa (HMBASA) saves the lives of hundreds of orphaned babies by procuring donated breast milk from willing mothers. To ensure that the donor milk is safe to use, the HMBASA have streamlined the pasteurisation process with the use of a mobile application.

In many South African communities, breastfeeding infants is just not possible because of HIV and other diseases. Hundreds of infants are orphaned at birth, and cannot rely on steady access to nutritious breast milk. Formula milk is not a viable option because it’s just too costly.

To combat this problem, the HMBASA created a network of willing donors who freeze and donate their breast milk. This breast milk is then pasteurised to ensure diseases and other bacteria are eliminated from the milk. To do this, a team from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Department of Paediatrics and Child Health developed an Android application called FoneAstra.

FoneAstra guides milk bank staff through the low-cost process of flash-heat pasteurisation of donated breast milk. Currently still in its testing phase, the app connects an Android phone to a probe that monitors the temperature of the donated breast milk.

It provides a guide for health workers through the proper pasteurisation process and makes it easier to track and trace donor milk to ensure the quality of the milk is maintained and monitored.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic resulted in thousands of infants either being abandoned when their mothers discovered they’re HIV infected or orphaned when their mothers die of HIV/AIDS. These babies need donated milk to ensure their survival while adoptive families are sort.