Advocating for six months paid maternity leave for working lactating mothers was the stand of The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF )as part of efforts to improve workplace policies to boost exclusive breastfeeding.
The call was contained in a goodwill message by Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, during a Media Dialogue, held at Jamil Hotel and Towers, Azare, Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
The Media Dialogue, organised by UNICEF, was to commemorate the annual World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), which drew participants from the UNICEF) Bauchi Field Office from Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Plateau and Taraba States.
He explained that breast milk remains the first vaccine for every child and advocated that mothers, especially those that are working must be encouraged to exclusively breastfeed their children for six months.
He disclosed that Women make up about 20 million out of the 46 million workforce in Nigeria and about 95 per cent are within the informal sector, while the formal sector only employs 5 per cent.Also speaking, a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Honourable Lawal Dauda, said that the House would enact a law to increase maternity leave from three months to six months for breastfeeding mothers to promote breastfeeding and boost child survival.
In an address of welcome, during the Media Dialogue, the Executive Director of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed disclosed that as part of efforts to enact the law, advocacies would be carried out to public institutions, MDAs, traditional rulers.
Mohammed said the executive arm of the state government is expected to submit a proposal to the state Assembly to extend the maternity leave.
COV/DORCAS GWANI JOS.