Kaduna State Government is implementing the policy of six months paid maternity leave for working mothers in the civil service to enable them practice exclusive breast feeding.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe who disclosed this on Friday, noted that the six months was extended from the earlier three months which was for decades the conventional maternity leave granted to women across all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Dr Balarabe further said that Kaduna state has also established creches at the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development as well as the Planning and Budget Commission, ‘’to support lactating mothers to continue to breastfeed their infants, even after resuming work when their maternity leave expires. ‘’
‘’This will lead to increased productivity of the working mother. The state is also considering plans on how to expand the creation of these creches cross other MDAs,’’ the Deputy Governor pointed out.
According to her, the state government, through the leadership of Malam Nasir El-Rufai has also established nutrition corners across the 23 local governments, to provide nutrition counseling and practical demonstrations on how to adequately prepare food and feed infants aged six to 59 months, with the support of UNICEF.
‘’Development Partners have also been instrumental in supporting the state both technically and financially in ensuring that we scale up optimal nutrition interventions to our mothers, children, and in some cases the entire household and communities,’’ she said.
In a press briefing to commemorate the World Breast Feeding Week on Friday, Dr Balarabe said that the government hopes that the private sector and federal agencies in Kaduna state will follow suit.
Dr Balarabe also said that ‘’healthcare workers have also been trained with Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) interventions set-up across 17 LGAs of Kaduna state, with the hope that before the end of 2021, the IYCF services will be expanded to the remaining five LGAs.’’
The Deputy Governor, who is a medical doctor, also listed the benefits of exclusive breast feeding, which include a stronger immunity to babies.
According to her, it also reduces the risk of diseases and infection via provision of nourishment including vitamins, minerals and other protective shield to the child, aids general growth, development, and improved cognitive function of the child.
‘’Breastfeeding is therefore a shared responsibility, and it involves me, you, our family members, the community, LGAs and the entire state. This is to ensure that we provide a conducive environment for our mothers to give the maximum quantum of care to our infants and young children,’’ she added.
Dr Balarabe who noted that this year’s theme is “Protect Breastfeeding: A shared Responsibility’’, said that the world breastfeeding week (WBW) was established in 1992 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to address issues relating to poor early breastfeeding.