Breastfeeding: Bauchi govt mulls six months maternity leave

Breastfeeding mother to illustrate the story [Credit: Google photos]

Rilwanu Mohammed, the executive chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BSPHCDA), says the state will enact a law to take care of working mothers and students.

Mr Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday at a media dialogue commemorating the breastfeeding week, organised by UNICEF, Bauchi Field Office, in Azare, the headquarters of Katagum Local Government Area.

According to him, the law will take care of the six-month or four months of maternity leave for breastfeeding mothers and students if the state House of Assembly eventually approves.

He said this was necessary because exclusive breastfeeding was key to human lives and child’s survival, adding that breast milk was the first form of immunisation a child received.

“Let us ensure that we inform the fathers, grandfathers and caregivers that a working-class mother or student is an important mother and should have a safe place, privacy in her working place and flexible time for her to go home and breastfeed her baby.

“I want to use this opportunity to inform you that Bauchi State has agreed to send a law that would take care of both the six months of maternity leave and create an enabling environment for working-class mothers.

“We have talked about the provision of creches which are places in every working place that are supposed to be provided for working mothers to have privacy for her to breastfeed her baby,” he said.

He added that the law, when enacted, would give working mothers and students the flexibility to go home and breastfeed their babies after the resumption of the state’s six or four months of maternity leave.

Also, Tushar Rane, chief of UNICEF’s Bauchi Field Office, said optimal infant feeding was a cornerstone for human capital development, while poor Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices would bear major risks to child survival and socio-economic growth. 

“Women make up 20 million out of the 46 million workforce in Nigeria, and 95 per cent are within the informal sector, while the formal sector only employs five per cent. 

“Shockingly, only nine per cent of organisations have a workplace breastfeeding policy, with only 1.5 per cent in the public sector.

“Workplace challenges to breastfeeding are one of the primary factors responsible for early cessation of breastfeeding. 

“Women require sufficient time and support to breastfeed successfully. For working mothers, juggling between tasks and breastfeeding may be nearly often impossible,” he said.


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