Pakistan’s First Human Milk Bank Initiative Suspended after New Fatwa – Startup Pakistan

Pakistan’s first Human Milk Bank, established by the Sindh Institute of Child Health & Neonatology (SICHN), has been put on hold following a new fatwa. This milk bank was created to provide breast milk to premature babies who are born before 34 weeks or weigh less than 2 kilograms, as these infants often can’t get enough nutrition from their mothers.

Initially, the project received conditional approval in December 2023, meaning it was endorsed with specific guidelines to ensure it was Shariah-compliant. The milk bank aimed to offer free breast milk that met Islamic law standards, and the milk was to come exclusively from Muslim donors.

However, a revised fatwa issued on June 16 led to the suspension of the milk bank. In response, SICHN has decided to seek further guidance from Darul Uloom Karachi and the Council of Islamic Ideology to determine how to proceed.

The goal of the Human Milk Bank was to help vulnerable premature babies by providing them with essential nutrition, but the recent religious ruling has paused these efforts until further clarity can be obtained.

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