Wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun on Monday, canvasses six months maternity leave for Public Servants in the State.
The first lady said it was to enhance the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding in the formal and informal sectors.
Mrs. Abiodun made this known at the flag-off of 2023 Breastfeeding Week themed: “Enabling Breastfeeding, Making a Difference For Working Parents” held at the Itoko Primary Health Center, Abeokuta South Local Government.
She said the three months maternity leave currently in practice would not be sufficient for nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies effectively.
Mrs. Abiodun said it was time for the government and all stakeholders to take decisive actions at ensuring supportive breastfeeding.
She added that all employers of labour should revisit their professional obligations by prioritising breastfeeding-friendly environments for mothers and babies.
The first lady appealed to the private sector and government at all levels to provide employees with facilities that would enable nursing mothers to breastfeed their infants properly.
“I am aware that most States in the South West already enjoy six months maternity leave and two weeks paternity leave leaving only Ogun and Osun States but I want to use this medium to assure you all that I will champion the process of securing six months maternity leave for mothers in this State working with the government.
“As a nation, there is an enabling policy to ensure exclusive breastfeeding is favoured both in the formal and informal sectors. However, the implementation rate of this national policy is slow, thus making the majority of our informal and formal work environment unfriendly for exclusive breastfeeding’’.
Mrs. Abiodun promised to use her office and Ajose Foundation to sustain the usage of the nutrition jingles across the State-owned radio and television stations, as well as community-based mobilizers, to educate nursing mothers on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, urging the mothers to adhere strictly to the practice.
In her remarks, Permanent Secretary, Hospitals Management Board, Dr. Olayinka Elemide appreciated the First Lady for her love and unflinching support for women, children, and the State’s health sector.
On her part, the President, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, and Consultant Paediatrician with Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta, Dr. Olabisi Dedeke, said the significance of breastfeeding could not be overemphasised.
She noted that the practice has advantage on the health of babies and mothers, which include healing of the uterus and prevention of breast cancer.
President, Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Ogun State Chapter, Mrs. Roseline Solarin in her speech, cautioned mothers against introducing baby formulas, noting that breastfeeding fosters bonding and love between mother and child.
In their responses, two of the nursing mothers, Ajarat Jinadu and Joy Aderibigbe said nursing women deserve proper care and support, calling on the government and organisations to initiate more friendly policies and programme for the overall well-being of mothers and children.
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