By Angela Atabo
Abuja, Aug. 4, 2020 Wife of Kaduna State Governor, Aisha El’Rufai, on Tuesday said the bill for Maternity and Paternity Leave for workers in the state would be ready by the end of 2020.
El’Rufai made this known at the Save the Children Nigeria World Breastfeeding Week Webinar on Innovative Strategies for Improving Breastfeeding and Nutrition in Nigeria.
She said that the bill was to be enacted to among other things encourage breastfeeding among working women and also make provisions for paternity leave so men could support their wives for exclusive feeding.
“The bill will get a legal backing soon for effective implementation; the zero draft will be presented to stakeholders for their input and hopefully by the first quarter of 2021 the bill should be ready for ascent.
“Breast milk is the best nutritional choice for infants so supporting the practice of feeding babies only milk for the first six months of their lives will go a long way to make them grow healthy.
“ Kaduna state knows the importance of breast milk that is why it is introducing various policies and strategic documents developed to promote exclusive breastfeeding and improve nutrition of women and children in the state.’’
El’Rufai urged governors’ and local governments chairmen’ wives to encourage exclusive breastfeeding among mothers to enhance infant’s development.
She also urged the government to enact laws to support breastfeeding and promote breastfeeding campaign to achieve nutritional balance.
Also speaking, Mr Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Health, Secondary and Tertiary Committee, said that the six months’ maternity bill at the Federal level had reached the third reading.
Oloriegbe said that the National Assembly was amending and introducing bills to enhance maternal and child health.
The lawmaker, who encouraged stakeholders to promote breastfeeding and invest in it, said it was also a way of human capital development.
Mr Innocent Ifedilichukwu, Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager, Survive Programme, Save the Children, called on governments at all levels to increase funding for various nutrition programmes.
Ifedilichukwu said that nutrition was key to human development thus the need for government to build and equip crèches in all offices so working mothers could be close to their babies for effective breastfeeding.
Ms Karina Lopez, Nutrition Adviser, Save the Children Nigeria, said that mothers should be discouraged from feeding their babies with any form of liquid or solid except breast milk within the first months of their existence.
This Lopez said this would lead to good nutrition for healthy development of babies.
She said that the webinar was organised as part of activities to mark the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week with the theme “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet.’’