Bauchi First Lady Advocates Extension of Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave


First Lady of Bauchi State, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed at this year’s World Breastfeeding Week event. Photo: Murtala Muhammad

By Murtala Muhammad

The First Lady of Bauchi state, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed has renewed advocacy for the provision of enabling environment for lactating mothers to breastfeed their newborn babies in the workplace.

She made the call at an event to commemorate this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, with the theme “Enabling Breastfeeding, Making a Difference for Working Parents”, held at Command Guest House in Bauchi metropolis.

The event was organized by the State Primary Health Care Development Agency in collaboration with Alive and Thrive fhi360 and USAID funded Breakthrough Action Nigeria.

Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed said the State House of Assembly has a role to play in actualising the advocacy for the provision of breastfeeding corners in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government through making legislative provision and forwarding it to the Governor for his assent.

Cross section of working class mothers who attended the event. Photo: Murtala Muhammad

According to the First Lady Working and lactating mothers were facing a lot of challenges in their workplace due to the absence of breastfeeding corners, which at many points distract them from discharging their duties effectively.

She also advocated the extension of Maternity Leave from four to six months for mothers and introduction of two weeks Paternity Leave for their husbands.

The Executive Chairman of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed assured the the state Governor was willing to approve give assent to any legislative process that is geared towards improving the lives of mothers and children.

Presenting an Overview of Alive and Thrive fhi360, the State Coordinator, Mr Chidi Asimobi said about 387 Health Workers received training courtesy of fhi360 with a view to reducing maternal and infant mortality rate in the state.

Also speaking, the State Coordinator of USAID funded Breakthrough Action Nigeria, Mr Usman Inuwa, represented by Mr Nura Faggo highlighted the interventions being provided in the state to include social behavioral change towards Maternal and child health issues.

Some of the Working class mothers who shares their experience on challenges they face while lactating, said lack of breastfeeding corners in the workplace was one of the issues restraining them from practicing exclusive breastfeeding and advocated the provision of same towards ensuring healthy growth of their new born babies.

The Gender Desk Officer, State Ministry of Justice Maimuna Ibrahim assured readiness to provide legal backing for any law that will facilitate the provision of breastfeeding corners in the workplace and extension of Maternity Leave for mothers as well as introduction of Paternity Leave for their husbands.

Highlights of the event were delivery of goodwill messages and commitments from representatives of Implementing Partners and other stakeholders.

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