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NMA Advocates for Six Months Maternity Leave

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The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has called on the federal and state governments to implement its recommended six months maternity leave policy to facilitate exclusive breastfeeding of infants in the country.

The chairman of the Kano State chapter of the NMA, Dr. Abdullahi Kabir Suleiman made the call at a seminar organized by the Department of Pediatrics of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, in collaboration with Danone Nutricia and Friesland Campina.

The seminar was to mark this year's World Breastfeeding Week.

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every 1 - 7 of August to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding. This year's theme is: Let's make breastfeeding and work, work!

Dr. Kabir stressed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, adding that if adopted, “the parents would have handful time to breastfeed their children exclusively.”

 

The Head of Special Care Baby Unit, Dr. Hadiza Ashiru Usman expressed concerns that the current three to four months of maternity leave is limited as it does not allow nursing mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding.

According to Dr. Hadiza, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria is less than 20 percent.

She, however, said the federal and state governments and employers must “take decisive actions to ensure a supportive breastfeeding environment for all working mothers, including those in the formal and informal sector.”

According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than half a billion working women are not given essential maternity protections in national laws, hence the need for prompt action.


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