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More than 2,000 people took part in the run for the first Croatian human milk bank

Foto: GMarinov

Zagreb, 10 September  2017

About 2,000 adult recreational runners took part this Sunday in Zagreb in the Milky Way humanitarian run organised by UNICEF to raise funds for the first human milk bank in Croatia, for which nearly US$122,000 has so far been raised through entry fees and donations of individuals and corporates.

Foto: GMarinov

According to the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan of the Croatian Ministry of Health, the first human milk bank is expected to open in 2018 at the Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb, and the estimated value of the investment is approximately US$324,000. As a partner in this project, UNICEF will provide financial and technical assistance.

Foto: ZMlinar

The Milky Way run was held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, and the City of Zagreb.

Valentina Otmačić with Tomaž Bergoč, Executive Director of the Slovenian Foundation for UNICEF, who was also among the runners in the Milky Way 2017 (Foto: GBanda)

Both the start and finish of the circular run were in the centre of the capital, and the applicants for the 5,100 m and 10,000 m runs included not only participants from Croatia, but also recreational runners from neighbouring countries, and also from Poland, Germany, the United States of America, as well as one participant from Argentina, and one from India.

Foto: ZMlinar

At Kvaternik Square, where both the start line and the finish line were located, the runners were greeted by the public, large numbers of volunteers, company representatives, and public figures, including the Minister of Health, Milan Kujundžić.

Minister of Health, Milan Kujundžić with Head of UNICEF Office for Croatia, Valentina Otmačić (Foto:GDimic)

“We are going to achieve this project, which is of vital importance for prematurely born and sick babies. Space is ready at the Clinical Hospital Centre, and we expect the milk bank to come into operation within the next six to twelve months”, said Milan Kujundžić, the Croatian Minister of Health to reporters after thanking those taking part in the humanitarian run.

Foto: GDimic

The runners were welcomed by the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Bojana Gregorić Vejzović. The Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Valentina Otmačić, thanked all the participants, with special emphasis on the support provided by more than 100 volunteers who were looking after the runners, both young and old.

Foto: GDimic

Human milk banks are run by non-profit organisations whose task is to collect, screen, process, store and distribute human milk. By establishing a human milk bank, survival is ensured for prematurely born children and sick newborns who for medical reasons cannot receive their biological mother’s milk.

Updated: 12 September 2017
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