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South African, U.S. Women Donate Breast Milk to South African AIDS Orphans

October 6, 2006

Women in the U.S. and South Africa are sending breast milk to children at the iThemba Lethu orphanage in Durban, South Africa, whose mothers have died of AIDS-related illnesses, ABCNews' "World News Tonight" reports. According to ABCNews, the mothers of approximately three million children ages five and younger in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS-related illnesses. Perry Reimers, who runs the breast milk bank at the orphanage, said the nutrition and immune properties in breast milk are "absolutely vital" for the orphans, many of whom are immuno-compromised or HIV-positive. Missouri resident Jill Youse discovered the iThemba Lethu orphanage online and founded the International Breast Milk Project to collect breast milk from U.S. women and deliver it to South Africa. "For children who are sick, especially if they have HIV or other diseases, breast milk could be the difference between life and death," Youse said. All donors in the U.S. and South Africa are screened and their milk is pasteurized before it is given to the orphans (Seemunghal, "World News Tonight," ABCNews, 10/4).

The complete transcript of the segment is available online. Video of the segment is available online.

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