CASE STUDY

Our Hidden Health Crisis in Aborignal and Torres Strait Island Communites centres around Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM), a form of diabetes and Human T-cell Leukaemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection,  a serious illnesses, such as a fatal form of chemotherapy resistant leukaemia.

It is affecting thousands of Aboriginal adults in these communities with some of the highest levels in the world of the HTLV-1 virus.

Here’s how donor breast milk and education can help.

In Australia, two public health issue stand out:

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy in 12% -14% of pregnant women. Gestational diabetes is amongst the fastest growing form of diabetes. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are affected well above the average. The long-term outcome of diabetes includes devastating kidney failure. Again almost one in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 18 show signs of  chronic kidney disease.

Human T-cell Leukaemia Virus type 1

Human T-cell Leukaemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection can affect up to half the population of some remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It can lead to serious illnesses, such as a fatal form of chemotherapy resistant leukaemia, in some individuals. While breastfeeding is important unfortunately it is one route by which the disease might be passed on.

To remedy these critical health issues and with the support of our communities, ABMB together with its affiliate MMBC will:

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Up-scale the latest state-of-the art processing technologies to achieve the necessary volume of human donor milk for sharing as ‘Bridging Milk©’ powder to those affected, especially by GDM and HTLV-1.

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Provide education for mothers and carers in communities affected by GDM and HTLV-1.

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Support families and carers that are particularly in need of urgent help, including:

  • Disadvantaged families in rural and remote areas.
  • Carers of adopted or foster babies.
  • Mothers who are unable to breastfeed due to illness or circumstance.

 

About our Affiliate: 

Gold-Coast based Mothers’ Milk Bank Charity (MMBC) has a remarkable track record of success.

For the last 11 years, MMBC has provided bacteriologically safe expressed donor breast milk to 1000’s of babies in many situations. 

The late Aunty Ruby’ has embraced MMBC’s work and encouraged its support of mothers and carers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities afflicted by GDM and HTLV-1. The Ruby Hunter project has the blessing of Archie Roach, the family of the late Ruby Hunter and Mothers Milk Bank Charity is now officially partnered with the Ruby Hunter Foundation.

Best,
Lynne Hall, Founder ABMB