In a bid to promote healthy living, the Lagos state government has called for support from employers and co-workers in terms of positive attitude towards motherhood and breastfeeding for successful breastfeeding practice by women in the work setting.
This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Osunkiyesi at a briefing signaling the commencement of Breastfeeding Week Celebration in Lagos.
Osunkiyesi noted that job security and non-discrimination on the ground of maternity and breastfeeding should be encouraged by employers.
According to her, 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 and associations for the breastfeeding mothers.
She added that the 2015 breastfeeding week seeks to engage with target groups’ like Trade Unions, Workers Rights Organisations and women’s groups to protect the breastfeeding rights of women in the workplace.
She further advocated 6 months paid maternity leave to support exclusive breastfeeding in systems where the maternity leave is less than 3 months and flexible or daily reduction of working hours for working mothers to ensure un-interrupted breastfeeding.
She pointed out that 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.
Osunkiyesi further stated that the rationale behind the political will for baby friendly policies as practiced by the state government was as a result of the realisation that breastfeeding is the most cost beneficial investment in child survival and development strategies.
According to her,
“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”.