Working mothers: group tasks Kano govt on 6 months maternity leave

Working mothers: group tasks Kano govt on 6 months maternity leave

Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), has called on the Kano State Government to extend maternity leave from three to six months to enable working-class mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding.

Mr Isaac Dare-Oguntade, the Project Assistant, CS-SUNN Abuja, made the call on Friday in Zaria on the sidelines of a two-day Pre-budget and Review Meeting to improve nutrition investment in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by members of the Kano State House of Assembly and heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Dare-Oguntade said that optimal breastfeeding which included early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding would ensure appropriate child growth, development and survival.

He said that the current three months of maternity leave for working mothers in the state was depriving the women ample time to practice the required six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

“Research shows that by increasing breastfeeding rates, we could save the lives of more than 820, 000 children worldwide every year.

“Breast milk provides antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protect them against many infections while the antibodies and bioactive factors in breast milk may fight against COVID-19 if the baby is exposed.

“Also, optimal brain development of a child largely depends on sufficient quantities of key nutrients during the first 1, 000 days of life. Breast milk provides the ideal nutrients for infants.

“It has a mix of vitamins, protein, and fat and every other nutrient the baby needs to grow strong and healthy,” he said.

He, therefore, called on the state government to not only extend the maternity leave but back with a law to ensure sustainability.

According to him, the law will ensure the rights of women to breastfeed exclusively for six months and as long as they want, given its huge benefits for both the mother, child, community and the nation.

He commended the state government for providing the enabling environment for development partners and relevant stakeholders to support the implementation of high-impact, low-cost interventions to address the scourge of malnutrition.

“CS-SUNN will continue to provide adequate support to strengthen nutrition programming and implementation of result-oriented interventions that will improve the quality of life of children,” he said.

Malam Balarabe Karaye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning and Budget, said that the meeting was organised in partnership with CS_SUNN.

Karaye said that the meeting was organized for stakeholders to ascertain the level of nutrition investment and performance in the state.

“We are also here to see how we can increase nutrition funding in the 2021 budget as part of efforts to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition and avert preventable deaths among children,” he said.

Karaye said that the state government would work toward extending maternity leave from three months to six months to enable working mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding.

He assured stakeholders of the state government’s commitment to articulate programs and policies for sustainable improvement of the welfare of women and children, including caregivers. (NAN)

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