June 15, 2021

Islamists slow the opening of Bangladesh’s first breast milk bank

The Bangladeshi authorities have been forced to suspend the launch of the first breast milk bank for babies, as opposed to Islamists who fear that two people who have drunk milk from the same mother may marry in the future.

The state Institute of Maternal and Child Health (ICMH) in Mutuail, near Dhaka, planned to launch the project in early December, with imported machinery and intended for babies who for various reasons do not receive breast milk, but are they encountered opposition from the Islamists.

“We keep the project suspended for the moment. Hopefully, we can convince everyone that there is nothing non-Islamic in the project. Once we do, we will launch the bank,” said the coordinator of the initiative, Mojibur Rahman

The fundamentalists warned the Government through a legal notice of the religious and legal complications that the institution would have in place, and argued that the bank would create the risk that in the future there will be marriages of people who have drunk milk from the same mother , something forbidden by Islam.

The Deputy Secretary General of Islami Andolan Bangladesh (Islamic Movement of Bangladesh), Gazi Ataur Rahman, insisted that the authorities should have consulted the project with Islamic scholars before initiating it.

“Islam allowed babies to drink milk from another mother. No problem. Our prophet also drank milk from other women. It is not bad but good, but when it is not identified, it creates problems,” he explained.

“Marriage is prohibited in 14 (types) of relations in Islam. This applies to relationships created by the consumption of breast milk, which could lead to some prohibited act without knowing it. For that fear we opposed” the bank creation, Rahman said.


“We have not yet received any response to our legal notice. It is not clear to us that the identity (of the donor mother and the receiving baby) will be maintained. It is necessary that it be clarified before we raise our objection,” he concluded.

Instead, the bank coordinator, Mojibur, said they already meet all the conditions imposed by the Islamists.

“This is a human milk bank that is different from the usual human milk banks in non-Muslim countries. This is due to religious precepts and is conditioned to identification. Here the mother’s milk will be kept separately. One will not it will mix with the others, “he said.

He also explained that both the mother and the baby will receive donor and recipient cards that will include their national identification number, apart from other data.

In addition, “every year we will also make a yearbook that details the identities of mothers and babies and will be delivered to the district office that records marriages so that there are no information gaps … it will be a computer generated process,” he said. .

Mojibur insisted that they decided on those measures “before our Islamic scholars presented their objection.”

“We knew his sensitivity and we also made a presentation at the Islamic Foundation before moving forward,” he added.

The idea of ​​the project came after seeing that about 25 babies who had no mother needed breast milk.

“In addition to them, we had 37 adopted babies whose adoptive mothers could not give milk either. Considering both problems we took it as a life-saving project,” Mojubur said.

Bangladeshi pediatricians also welcome the creation of a breast milk bank.

“It’s a very good initiative. Generally, we don’t recommend anything other than breast milk for babies, but in many situations we don’t get the mother to give her baby milk. The milk bank could be a solution to this problem. I think it is possible by following Islamic rules, “said Mahbubul Haque, one of the doctors at Shishu Children’s Hospital in Dhaka.

The infant mortality rate in Bangladesh this 2019 was 25.78 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the United Nations World Population Outlook.

Azad Majumder


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