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September 22, 2023

Alive and Thrives, UNICEF, Urge Govts To Extend Working Mothers’ Maternity Leave To 6 Months

Alive and Thrives and the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), have appealed to State governments to extend the maternity leave from three months to six months for lactating mothers working in Government Ministries and Departments.

The UNICEF Chief of Kano Field Office, Rahama Farah,while speaking during the stakeholders meeting with the theme:

“Enabling breastfeeding environment for working partners, “said only 9 per cent of nigeria’s formal sector had workplace breastfeeding policy, hence the clamour for change. Farah, who was represented by the Nutrition Manager, Elhadji Diop, stressed the need to create an enabling environment where working parents are supported in their journey of nurturing their children while also pursuing their careers. “Presently, the formal sector employs approximately one million women, while 95% of women work within the informal sector. Shockingly, only 9 per cent of organizations have a workplace breastfeeding policy with only 1.5 per cent in the public sector.”

“This has to change.We need to create an environment where working parents are supported in their journey of nurturing their children while also pursuing their careers. “To do so and promote breastfeeding support in the workplace, UNICEF requests the Kano State Government to extend paid maternity leave for government Employees from the current three months to six months, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding.

“We equally requested that the government prioritize the needs of working parents through provision of lactation rooms/crèches in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and implement breastfeeding breaks and flexible work arrangements.

“We appeal that they 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,” Farah said.

Similarly, the State Team Lead, Alive and Thrives, Dr. Ashiru Hamza Muhammad, said the importance of breastfeeding cannot be overemphasized as it increases the immune, psychological and social development of a child. He added that, exclusive breastfeeding within the first 1,000 days is the only investment a mother can make for a child to let him or her grow healthy and contribute his or her quota to the development of society.

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