Not dairy!! Bangladesh to launch 'human-milk' bank soon...

Supreme Court lawyer Mahmudul Hasan sent a legal notice to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Islamic Foundation, ICMH, Special Care Newborn Unit (SCANU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on December 24, challenging the milk bank and demanding setting proper conditions before launching it.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 30 Dec 2019 10:59 AM GMT

Not dairy!! Bangladesh to launch human-milk bank soon...
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Dhaka: Taking a unique initiative for its vulnerable and motherless infants, Bangladesh government was scheduled to launch the human-milk bank, on December 01 but due to huge public criticism and opposition by a group of Islamists it is now facing uncertainty.Bangladesh government's Institute of Child and Mother Health or ICMH in Dhaka's Matuail was scheduled to launch the milk bank, fitted with imported machinery, on December 1. But when the plan was made public, a group of Islamic scholars, opposed it and sent a legal notice claiming that the milk bank will create legal and religious complications, as per reports.

The ICMH have stalled the project. We've paused the project for now, Project Coordinator Dr Mojibur Rahman was quoted as saying by the daily.

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The islamists are arguing on the bases that the proposed facility could create the risk of marriage between people who have drunk the milk of the same woman, which they say is "haram".

Gazi Ataur Rahman, a joint secretary general of the Islami Andolan Bangladesh and secretary general of National Olama Mashayekh Aimma Council, said the ICMH should have consulted the Islamic scholars before initiating the project as it is a "sensitive" issue.

"Marriage with 14 relations is haram (forbidden in Islam). This applies for the relations created by drinking milk. It cannot be taken so lightly, he said.

He said the Islamic scholars will oppose the project until issues like how much care will be taken in the process to preserve and distribute the milk becomes clear to them.

"Those running the project must make it clear how they will identify the donors and the babies, make the babies aware of the identities of the donors and others who receive milk from the same donor," he said.

Supreme Court lawyer Mahmudul Hasan sent a legal notice to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Islamic Foundation, ICMH, Special Care Newborn Unit (SCANU) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) on December 24, challenging the milk bank and demanding setting proper conditions before launching it.

Citing Islamic rules, Mahmudul said in the notice that children from different mothers become siblings when they drink milk from the same woman and marriage between siblings is haram.

Maulana Fariduddin Masud, chairman of Islahul Muslimin Council and Khatib of Sholakia Eidgah of Kishoreganj, has also asked how the babies who drink milk from the same woman will be identified when they grow up, the daily reported.

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He, however, doesn't see a problem in going ahead with the project once there is an answer to the question.

I've heard that there are milk banks in some Muslim countries as well. We should see how they have solved the issue and settle ours after talking to the Olamas, he said.

Mojibur said names, addresses and other details of the milk donors and babies will be preserved properly and separate ID cards will be issued so that both donors and babies will know in future who had received milk from whom.

Professor Mahbubul Haque, who works at the Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital's neonatal department, thinks a human milk bank is essential for vulnerable children. He said the infants remain at NICUs away from their mothers most of the time.

A milk bank can be useful for such babies, Haque said, warning that infant formulas have different problems .

The doctor suspects the businesses related to infant formula may be behind the opposition to the milk bank in addition to the religious debate.

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(PTI)

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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