Pakistan’s first human milk bank shuts down due to Fatwa

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By Sana Kahn

Karachi (Pakistan News Online) Sindh’s Health Department has closed the country’s first human milk bank (donor milk bank) after a fatwa from a religious seminary.

The Sindh Institute of Child Health and Neonatology (SICHN) confirmed in a statement that the human milk bank has been shut down indefinitely until further guidance is provided by the Islamic Ideology Council.

The statement mentioned that SICHN will seek additional guidance from Darul Uloom Karachi and the Islamic Ideology Council regarding the human milk bank.

The decision to close the milk bank became certain following a recent fatwa issued by Darul Uloom Karachi. Therefore, the bank will remain closed until religious guidance is obtained.

The institution emphasized that SICHN is committed to adhering to medical and religious ethics and teachings in providing breast milk to children, and further guidance will be sought accordingly.

It is noteworthy that the Sindh Health Department, in collaboration with UNICEF, opened the human milk bank earlier this month in June at a children’s hospital in Korangi, Karachi.

This was the first and only milk bank in Pakistan, aimed at collecting donated breast milk from lactating mothers, processing and storing it according to health standards, and distributing it to infants in need.

However, following its establishment, several religious groups expressed concerns and deemed it un-Islamic. Subsequently, Darul Uloom Karachi issued a fatwa, leading to the closure of the milk bank.

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