December 20

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Wrapping up

It’s the last day on my GSK Pulse Assignment and PATH’s low cost, low resource human milk pasteurization product, FoneAstra, is tantalizingly close to launching, with only a few final actions to be closed out by the manufacturer first.  To help facilitate this I went to Cape Town, South Africa, to visit the manufacturer Skeg Product Development, to transfer the testing understanding I accrued at PATH.  The two weeks were very productive and moved the prospect of launching ever closer, particularly with the help of Johann and the team, Derek and Megan.

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As a side activity, from the technical transfer, I went with Johann (Skeg Engineering Manager) to spend a morning at a human milk bank, Milk Matters, where Jenny Wright (Milk Matters Chairperson) was our host, explaining how the milk bank operated.  It was a very informative trip and put all of our work on FoneAstra in context.

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Something that has struck me about working with Human Milk Banks, is how worthwhile and meaningful it is for all those involved, not surprising really when you are dealing with improving the health of vulnerable babies, but it really resonates with one of GSK’s core values of ‘Focus on the Patient’.

On my weekend off I managed to go up Table Mountain, by cable car …

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Popped over to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 of his 27 years in captivity …..

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Nelson Mandela’s Prison Cell

And squeezed in four sessions of Dragon Boating in with the Mujaji Dragon Boat Club

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And I am now back in Seattle wrapping up the project and saying my goodbyes to the friends that I have made.  The Human Milk Banking Team at PATH do an admirable job with promoting the use of human milk for vulnerable babies.  Given the amazing number of benefits that providing new borns with human milk it is astonishing, to me, that there is any resistance in advocating its use, but it is relatively new concept so will take time to be accepted.

Here I am saying good bye to my GSK Pulse buddy at PATH, Caitlin from Boston.

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So I am signing off with a sense that I have been privileged to have been able to contribute in a small way to enabling the use of human milk to improve and save the lives of vulnerable babies.  This would not have been possible if it wasn’t for GSK Pulse providing this superbly managed initiative, my friends and colleagues back in GSK Device Engineering for filling in, for PATH making this opportunity available, and my family for their support. Thank you all!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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