Validation of a Survey for Assessment of Human Milk Bank Promotion at Herculano Pinheiro Maternity Hospital in Madureira, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


The purpose of this research was to extend past investigation at Herculano Pinheiro Maternity Hospital that involved interviewing women about their attitudes with regards to donating or not to the hospital's human milk bank.1 The aim is to create a validated survey for this population of women that can be utilized by the Nutrition Service to better calibrate its promotional activities with regards to human milk banking. Ultimately, the survey product could be utilized by other milk banks, as the state of Rio de Janeiro has 18 total milk banks, including Herculano Pinheiro, many serving a similar population of women. This research was conducted in four phases. First, drafts of the questionnaire were pilot tested at the maternity ward. Next, Nutrition Service interns and employees were asked to "focus group" a near-final draft of the questionnaire. Third, the final questionnaire was applied to roughly 80 women over several weeks' time. Finally, approximately two weeks following the initial questionnaire administration, participants were contacted by telephone and the majority of the survey was repeated, to assess test-retest validity of the instrument. To date over 30 questionnaires have been successfully repeated by telephone. It is hoped that statistical processes will aid in highlighting which questions are reliable and which are subject to an undesireable level of bias. In addition, these data may open up several avenues for improved promotion and dissemination of milk bank activities. Hopefully the analysis will yield a questionnaire that can become an efficient tool for the Nutrition Service at Herculano Pinheiro, and perhaps one day at other milk banks in the city and state of Rio de Janeiro.

1. Brazil is a global leader in human milk banking. The milk is collected mostly from the small number of women (perhaps 5-10%) who produce excess milk, often alleviating feelings of turgidity and pain. This milk is put through a technical screening process and modified Pasteurization, then frozen. The bank's milk is given to low-birth weight infants in the hospital's intensive care unit and other wards. HIV-positive mothers who cannot nurse their infants are also given banked milk so that their children can receive some of the many benefits of human milk over formula. 

Daniel Peixoto Irby
Publication date: 
September 15, 2012
Publication type: 
Student Research