The Global Alliance of Milk Banks and Associations (GAMBA) is a Virtual Collaborative Network of healthcare professionals and others working in the field of human milk banking. Initiated in March 2020 by Gillian Weaver and Dr Natalie Shenker (co-founders of the Human Milk Foundation), it grew rapidly in response to the need for the wider sharing of information and experiences as a result of many new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within 2 weeks over 35 countries were represented, and rapidly worked together to raise the need to support milk banking globally.
A year later, more than 45 countries are represented and actively engaged in planning research and future projects. If you are a healthcare professional who would be interested in joining GAMBA please contact Gillian Weaver – gillian@humanmilkfoundation.
The enhanced opportunities for communication made possible by this global network led to milk bank specialists, healthcare professionals and families from more than 35 countries rapidly coming together to create a giant online photo mosaic and video containing inspirational messages in support of breastfeeding and human milk donation from around the world. This was shared globally via social media in celebration of the World Day of Human Milk Donation on 19 May 2020. The message was a resounding thank you to all milk donors for their gift of donor milk which saves babies’ lives and supports parents to breastfeed.
In 2022 a beautiful follow-up video was made to celebrate the day with messages from babies and children from around the world thanking milk donors for their special gift. Watch the videos below.
Drops of love for a better world
Every drop makes a difference
The GAMBA virtual network currently includes more than 120 members from 45 countries around the world and was the first global initiative in which milk banking specialists from so many different countries with experience of milk banking could instantly request and share information and collaborate on a wide number of different topics. This in turn has led to several publications. Read the call-to-action for the greater support for and investment in milk bank infrastructure, research and innovation in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, and the summary of practices in response to the challenges posed by Covid-19, published in Maternal Child and Nutrition
Surveys on the commercialisation of human milk and practical aspects of milk banking have also contributed to a broader understanding of important topics. It is hoped that GAMBA will, in 2022, become a more formalised association offering wider opportunities for networking, education and research as well as the collection and sharing of global data from milk banks on the use of donor human milk and milk banking practices.