Worried by the severe cases of malnutrition with a record of 1.5 million in Kano, stakeholders in the public health sector at the weekend advocated quick action on breastfeeding.
Essentially, the stakeholders wanted the Kano State Government to legislate an extension of maternity leave from three to six months particularly for working mothers to attend to their babies.
At an occasion marking the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week, the stakeholders cautioned mothers to consider exclusive breastfeeding as the first equity of children that must not be denied in life.
The event globally commemorated between the 1st and 7th of August annually is intended to draw attention to the significance of breastfeeding to the psycho-mental and cognitive reasons of a child in life.
Team lead, Alive and Thrive Foundation, Dr. Ashiru Mohammad emphasized the significance of the first 1,000 days of child’s life, and stressed that exclusive breastfeeding of a child at the infant level determines the psychology and mental function in the future
The coordinator of the Bill and Mellinder Gate funded foundation advocated huge investment and advocacy around nutrition to ensure that women and mothers benefit from the healthy life of their wards.
According to him, the foundation is working on improving maternal, infant, and young child nutrition in Kano, a project currently running in seven Northern states to lessen the burden of malnutrition.
On his part, the UNICEF Chief of Kano Field Office, Mr. Rahama Farah, lamented that only 9 per cent of Nigeria’s formal sector have workplace breastfeeding policy hence the clamour for change.
Farah represented by the Nutrition Manager, Elhadji Diop, stressed the need to create an 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% of organizations have a workplace breastfeeding policy, with only 1.5% 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,” Diop said.
“To do so and promote breastfeeding support in the workplace, UNICEF requests the Kano State Governmnet to extend paid maternity leave for government Employees from the current three months to six months, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding.”
Head of nutrition, Kano State Primary Healthcare, Murtala Inuwa, said 1.5 million children in Kano are stunted with severely malnourished and about 108,000 children suffered acute malnutrition, adding that the situation can only get worsen without adequate feeding, complemented with exclusive breastfeeding.
– The Guardian