By Khadija Aliyu
The united nations children’s fund (UNICEF), has called on government to create a supportive environment, that fosters work life balance, as breastfeeding is not only a natural act, but also critical for the well being of children and mothers.
The chief UNICEF field office Kano, Mr. Rahma Rihood Mohammad Farah, made the call, during the flag off of 2023, world breastfeeding week.
According to him,prioritizing the needs of working parents, through provision of lactation rooms/creches in all MDAs,breastfeeding breaks and flexible working arrangements, would go a long way in promoting,protecting and supporting,maternal,infant and young child nutrition.
The chief of field office noted that,supporting working parents through breastfeeding friendly policies, results in improved employer-employee relations, increased loyalty,higher job productivity and positive impacts, on gender equality and work life balance.
Mr.Rahma charged government, traditional and religious, community leaders,civil society organizations, and the media to support breast feeding.
“extend paid maternity leave for government employees from the current three months to six months,emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding”
In his remarks, Kano state commissioner of health Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf,represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Hajiya Amina Aliyu Musa, reaffirmed the state governments commitment, in supporting nursing mothers, through establishment of creches and elongating maternity leave from 3 to six months.
The commissioner stressed that, KNSG, has procured ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF), to improve child nutrition,preventive services and public awareness in communities, among others.
“The government is health friendly by giving the sector all the necessary support to ensure quality healthcare delivery “
The state nutrition officer, Kano state ministry of health,Hajiya Halima Yakasai identified, poor maternal knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding,maternal health and attitudes, lack of intention to practice exclusive breastfeeding, and lack of, or late attendance to anti natal care, as some of the challenges to breastfeeding.
Others partners who spoke include Alive and thrive, Nutrition international (NI), CS-SUN, as well as civil servants, who shared their experiences.