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Bauchi Govt. to Enact Law Taking Care of Working Mothers and Students - Official

By Abdulwahab Muhammad, Bauchí

Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BSPHCDA), said that the state government would soon enact law taking care of both working mothers and students in the state.

Mohammed disclosed this on Wednesday, during a media dialogue in commemoration of the breastfeeding week organised by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Bauchi Field Office in Azare, the headquarters of Katagum LGA.

According to him, the law would also take care of the six months or four months maternity leave for breastfeeding mothers and students if eventually approved by the state House of Assembly.

He said this is necessary because exclusive breastfeeding was key to human lives and child's survival, adding that breast is the first immunization of a child as he comes to the world.

"Let us look at a breastfeeding mother, let us create an enabling environment for mothers to strive.

"Let us ensure that we inform the fathers, grandfather and caregiver that a working class mother or student is an important mother and should have a safe place, a privacy in her working place and flexible time for her to go home and breastfeed her baby.

"I want to use this opportunity to inform you that Bauchi state has agreed to send a law that would take care of both the six months maternity leave and create an enabling environment for working class mothers.

"We have talked about provision of creches which are places in every working place that are supposed to be provided for working mothers to have privacy for her to breastfeed her baby," he said.

He further added that the law, when enacted, would enable working mothers and students to have time flexibility to go home and breastfeed their babies after the resumption of the six or four months maternity leave in the state.

Also speaking, Dr. Tushar Rane, Chief of UNICEF's Bauchi Field Office, said that optimal infant feeding is a cornerstone for human capital development while poor Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices bear major risks to child survival and socio-economic growth. 

He opined that this year's World Breastfeeding Week brings attention to workplace breastfeeding.

"Women make up 20 million out of the 46 million workforce in Nigeria and 95 per cent are within the informal sector, while the formal sector only employs 5 per cent. 

"Shockingly, only 9 per cent of organizations have a workplace breastfeeding policy, with only 1.5 per cent in the public sector.

"Workplace challenges to breastfeeding are one of the primary factors responsible for early cessation of breastfeeding. 

"Women require sufficient time and support to breastfeed successfully. For working mothers, juggling between tasks and breastfeeding may be nearly often impossible," he said.

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