In the midst of our vigorous efforts to deliver blood to the Haiti survivors, came a call from the International Breast Milk Project: the USNS Comfort's Medical Treatment Center stationed by the coast of Haiti needed donor breast milk for the premature and orphaned infants aboard the ship. Once again, we joined forces with IBMP and rushed to implement Cold Chain Logistics to safely deliver 500 ounces of donor breast milk.
IBMP received a call from a pediatrician on the USNS Comfort requesting
donor breast milk and immediately contacted Quick to arrange delivery.
Breast milk is an ideal nutrition for infants. In Haiti, where most mothers breast-feed, using formula that requires clean water, sterilized bottles and nipples could be devastating.
We picked the milk up at the HMBANA Ohio Milk Bank, where it was stored pasteurized and frozen. It's shelf life in such conditions is very long, but it is crucial to maintain its temperature throughout transit. In such situations, we use dry ice, a frozen carbon dioxide, with surface temperature of -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-78.5 degrees C), and monitor temperature at all check points.
We used cooler packaging and labeled the milk for air transport. At this point, we were familiar with the logistics challenges of shipping to Haiti: no scheduled flights, overloaded airports lacking precious landing slots and backlogged aircraft space for relief supplies. Fortunately, we have long-standing relations with many airlines. Our partners Southwest and Amerijet knew what was at stake and acted quickly.
Once the breast milk shipment reached Miami, we replenished the ice. A few hours later, it arrived at the Port-au-Prince, where it was picked up by the helicopter and carried to the US Navy ship. Less than 24 hours from when it was picked up, the milk was in the safe hands of doctors, integrity intact. The USNS Comfort is equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit and medical staff, as well as freezers able to store milk in the adequate temperatures.
Quick picked up 500 oz of frozen breast milk from Ohio Milk Bank and
delivered it to the USNS Comfort near Haiti, maintaining Cold Chain.
Cold Chain is one of the logistics areas that Quick specializes in. This means that we have experts on staff that handle just that. We have transported hundreds of thousands of perishable life saving shipments: blood products, cordblood, specimen for Clinical Trial testing, tissue and organs for transplant.
Maintaining Cold Chain differs with each type of shipment. Regulations also differ depending on many circumstances: country, air or ground transport, packaging, airlines used for transport. Our team knows the answers. They know what's at stake. They are the best people for the job.
For more information about donating breast milk, or to make a contribution, go to http://www.breastmilkproject.org/