Extend breastfeeding policy to six months, UNICEF tells Katsina govt
Danjuma Michael, Katsina
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called on the Katsina State Government to promote workplace breastfeeding policy by extending paid maternity leave for government employees from the current three months to six months.
The body also called on the state government to prioritize the needs of working parents through the provision of lactating rooms or creches in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Rahama Farah, Chief, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, made the call during the launch of the 2003 World Breastfeeding Week in the state capital yesterday.
Represented by UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mr Oluniyi Oyedokun; Farah said only seven states in the country allow for six months paid maternity leave for its workers.
He said extending the maternity leave from three to six months by the state government, would lead to a better maternal and child health in the state.
Speaking, Farah said, “UNICEF requests the Katsina State Government to: Extend paid maternity leave for government employees from the current three to six months, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding.
“Prioritize the needs of working parents through the provision of lactation rooms in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and implement breastfeeding breaks and flexible work arrangements.
“Reinforce messages on good nutrition and health during the first 1,000 days of life through various platforms, including media, public spaces, and workplaces”.
“By taking these steps, workplaces can set a positive example for others to follow, ultimately leading to healthier and happier families,” he added.
The UNICEF chief also called on mothers and parents in the state to advocate for their right to breastfeed while advancing their careers, and that they should seek support from their employees and create a breastfeeding plan that suits their needs.
Wife of the state governor, Mrs Zalaihat Raddah said she would use her non governmental organization to advocate for better breastfeeding policy in the state.
She commended UNICEF and other partners for promoting healthcare delivery in the state’s 34 council areas.