UNICEF has appealed for the extension of maternity leave for the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding in Jigawa State.
Rahama Farah, the chief of UNICEF, Kano Field Office, made the appeal at the flag-off of 2023 World Breastfeeding Week on Wednesday in Dutse, Jigawa capital.
He said there was a need for the state to support nursing mothers by extending paid maternity leave for government employees, from the current three to six months.
Farah stressed the need for working mothers who were breastfeeding to be supported through the provision of lactation rooms or creches in all ministries and departments.
He further called on stakeholders to support breastfeeding, as it will enhance the health and happiness of families.
Represented by Isyaku Dioff, Farah said that it was essential to reflect on the progress made so far and the strides that still lie ahead in supporting our working parents.
Hadiza Namadi, the wife of the Jigawa State governor, appealed to employers of labour in the public and private sectors to grant nursing mothers more time.
Namadi commended the 2023 theme of World Breastfeeding Week, “enabling breastfeeding-making a difference for working parents.”
She stressed the need for women to be given full opportunity to exclusively breastfeed during the first six months of childbirth.
She, however, tasked stakeholders to engage in more awareness on exclusive breastfeeding.
Kabiru Ibrahim, the permanent secretary, state Primary Healthcare Development Agency, commended the solidarity of the first lady. He harped on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the health and welfare of mothers and children.
According to him, “More than 90 percent of women do not exclusively breastfeed and there is a need for more advocacy on that.”
An Islamic scholar who made a presentation at the event, Sheikh Baba Waziri, revealed the position of exclusive breastfeeding in Islam.
He explained that Islam ordered mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for them to be healthy and grow happily.