Lagos tasks employers on successful breastfeeding practice

BreastfeedingLagos State Government has called for support from employers, management, superiors and co-workers in terms of positive attitude towards motherhood and breastfeeding for successful breastfeeding practice by women in the work setting.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi who stated this today at a briefing signaling the commencement of Breastfeeding Week Celebration in Lagos noted that job security and non-discrimination on the ground of maternity and breastfeeding should be encouraged by employers.

Osunkiyesi in a press statement signed by the Lagos State Director, Information, Mrs. Adeola Salako, said that the promotion and success of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life without any other additives requires the collective support of all including employers of labour, community and religious leaders, nursing fathers and mothers, family members and associations for the breastfeeding mothers.

She added that the year 2015 breastfeeding week seeks to engage with target groups’ like the Trade Unions, Workers Rights Organisations, Women’s groups and Youth groups, to protect the breastfeeding rights of women in the workplace.

According to her, “Time, Space and Support are the three elements needed to ensure successful breastfeeding by women in any kind of work setting. Speaking on the issue, she advocated six months paid maternity leave to support exclusive breastfeeding in systems where the maternity leave is less than three months and flexible or daily reduction of working hours for working mothers to ensure un-interrupted breastfeeding”.

Osunkiyesi also noted that the space element seeks to advocate for the provision of a designated environmentally friendly space or place at or near the work place for infant and child feeding.

The Permanent Secretary added that the realization that breastfeeding is the most cost beneficial investment in child survival and development strategies is the rationale behind the political will for baby friendly policies practiced by the State Government.

She said: “Lagos State Government has taken the lead in the actualization of baby friendly policies for women in her workforce by institutionalizing a six months Maternity Leave for all nursing female workers for first two births. In like manner, the State Government also approved Paternity Leave of two weeks for all working fathers in its employ in realization of the need for psychological support for nursing mothers”.

She noted the theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week Celebration: ‘Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make It Work’, calls for concerted global action to support women to combine breastfeeding and work as women empowerment should not interfere with the baby’s right to breastfeed.

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