In commemoration of the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week, which commenced on August 1 and runs til August 7, with the Theme, “Enabling breastfeeding: Making a difference for working mothers”, the Planning and Budget Commission in collaboration with UNICEF held a one-day strategic Dialogue on the Implementation of the six months of paid Maternity Leave and the Establishment of Creche at Places.
In his opening remarks, the Commissioner, Mukhtar Ahmed said that the event is aimed at advocating for optimal breastfeeding, sustaining the gains of the approved extended six months maternity policy, as well as to advocate for the establishment of creches in the public and private sectors.
He explained that optimal infant breastfeeding is a building block for human capital development and essential to child survival, health, and development, while poor Infants and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are a major contributor to the high burden of infant and childhood morbidity and mortality.
The commissioner harped on the need for stakeholders to reflect on the benefits of breastfeeding for the child.
“It provides all the necessary nutrients for growth, contains important antibodies that fight against diseases, and makes the child smarter.
“As we mark this week, let us take a moment to reflect on the benefits of breastfeeding for the child. It provides all the necessary nutrients for growth, contains important antibodies that fight against diseases, and it makes the child smarter.
“For the mother, it reduces the risk of depression, reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, enhances bond between mother and child and saves time and money”.
The Commissioner pointed out that it is based on this that the Kaduna State Government became one of the states to implement the WHO recommended six months paid maternity leave policy and the provision of creches to aid breastfeeding mothers to continue nursing their babies even after they resume work.
He added that to promote the health and well-being of its citizens, the present administration is poised to invest in human capital development as contained in its SUSTAIN Agenda to build and strengthen a healthcare system that is preventive in approach, well equipped and staffed, accessible and affordable, and oriented to deliver a decent standard of care.
He stressed that this aims to achieve, by ensuring a reduction in maternal and child mortality, and ramping up enrollment in contributory health insurance, thereby sustaining care for pregnant women and children in public hospitals and expanding access to vaccines and medication.
He noted that the provision of creche at workplaces enables nursing mothers to quickly attend to their child’s needs and continue breastfeeding, without reducing their productivity or sacrificing their work commitments.
“It is important for us to put our heads together, reaffirm our commitment and implement evidence-based strategies and create more awareness to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
“Let us foster a culture of empathy and understanding, where mothers feel empowered and encouraged to breastfeed in public spaces without fear of judgment or discrimination. Breastfeeding is a natural and beautiful act that deserves to be celebrated, respected, and protected”.
The Honourable Commissioner appreciated UNICEF and other partners present for their support and all the efforts that they are putting to ensure the well-being of children and mothers in the state.