News Release

Philippine General Hospital Receives new Human Milk Pasteurizer 

Officials and staff of the University of The Philippines -Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) along with leaders from LDS Charities (LDSC) and Area Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were on hand for a turnover ceremony of a much needed Human Milk Pasteurizer on December 1, 2022. The turnover was the climax of an almost year-long effort to acquire the device essential to the survival of some 1500 premature babies born without immediate availability of breastmilk.


Philippines Area President Elder Steven R Bangerter and his wife Susan were present during the turnover and tour led by Dr. Aurora Libadia; the Neonatologist and head of the Human Milk Bank - PGH and Elder Steven E. Leininger from LDSC.

Among the officials who received the Human Milk Pasteurizer (HMP) were Dr. Stella Marie L. Jose, Deputy Director for Health Operations, Dr. Resti Bautista, PGH Chief of Newborn Medicine, Dr Marissa Lucban, Chair of Pediatrics. Elder Bangerter expressed his gratitude for the doctors and the sacrifices they made to “serve the most vulnerable in their own country”

Human Breast Milk Means Survival

A Human Milk Pasteurizer allows for milk given by a donor to be safely consumed by a newborn. Over 300,000 premature and small babies are born each year. According to PGH, the daily census of pre-term and sick babies is 50 to 60 a day. The need for human breast milk is 25 liters per day. Donated human breast milk makes the difference in survival outcomes in premature and low-weight babies when mothers themselves are sick or cannot provide milk.

The PGH previously had an HMP and had lasted for 12 years. The current state of the previous HMP necessitates the acquisition of a newer one as it is impossible to repair or find replacement parts.

Dr. Libadia said that she had reached out to LDSC on November 3 , 2021 “the human milk pasteurizer broke down in September 2021 and is beyond repair.” She further added that “the milk is given to premature, sick, and babies of severe COVID mothers and infants from the NICU.” Due to supply chain issues, it took a year to finally get the HMP delivered over to Manila from France which is the leading provider of Human Milk Pasteurizers.

After the turnover, Elder Bangerter visited the Human Milk Bank and Lactation Unit where the new HMP is being used for both donor milk and mothers’ milk for their own children.

“Serving the Most Vulnerable”

Along with the turning over of the HMP, Melody C. Ledesma, Country Director of the Mabuhay Deseret Foundation (MDF) offered space for mothers of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) babies a place to stay at the Mabuhay House during the holidays. Ms. Ledesma also offered to promote Dr. Libadia’s Breastfeeding Education programs in outlying provinces in tandem with MDFs screening tours.

Elder Bangerter and the staff of MDF were also able to meet with Dr. Bernadette J. Madrid who had led the first Child Protection Center at the PGH in Manila since 1997. Since then the center has helped more than 27,000 children. Dr. Madrid was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award 2022 (often called the Nobel Peace Prize for Asia) for her work in “championing the Filipino child’s right to protection by creating safe spaces for abused children nationwide.” Elder Bangerter later left a blessing expressing “appreciation for this work for abused women and children who are so precious in God’s sight.”

The Church also has an ongoing Wheelchair Initiative project with the PGH Rehabilitation Department. The Philippine General Hospital is the premier teaching and research hospital in The Philippines and is also the national government referral hospital with 1100 charity beds and 400 private beds.

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