An NGO, the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), has urged the three tiers of government to extend maternity leave to six months to enable mothers exclusively breastfeed their children.
The Secretary CS-SUNN, Ms Dabis Mwalike, made the call while addressing newsmen in Bauchi, as part activities marking the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) which holds from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
Mwalike said that scaling up of breastfeeding practices to almost universal level could save the lives of 820 000 children every year.
”We are advocating for breastfeeding corners in workplaces with a flexible schedule after resumption.
“The benefits of breastfeeding include improving survival, health and cognitive development, prevent maternal death from cancer and type II diabetes,” she said.
Mwalike said that statistics shows that only 7.8 per cent of children were breastfed within the first hour of birth in the state, hence the need for more community engagement.
The secretary attributed poor knowledge, cultural, social health system and commercial factors as being responsible for low exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
While commending the state government for enabling the environment for implementation, she called for collaborative efforts and synergy among stakeholders to improve on best breastfeeding practices.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for the 2022 WBW is ”Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support“.
NAN reports that the World Breastfeeding Week is a global campaign to raise awareness about breastfeeding and its advantages.
Following a surge in the infant mortality rate due to a drop in the number of mothers who wanted to breastfeed, the initiative became essential.
NAN reports that Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State announced a new state policy of six months’ maternity leave for female public servants in 2019.
The policy aims to facilitate breastfeeding of infants by women working within the civil service.
With the announcement, Kaduna State becomes the second state after Lagos State to commit to extending maternity leave to six months.