Fathers, mothers demand paternity leave, other extensions in Ondo 



FATHERS and mothers in Ondo State have tasked the state government for the implementation of six months maternity leave and two weeks paternity leave for the fathers, as implemented in Enugu State, to enhance mutual family upbringing for the child.

This plea was made by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), under the aegis of World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) to celebrate the 2015 World Breast Feeding Week recently in Akure, the capital city, where they urged government at all levels to implement such policies for best practices on post-natal care.

The meeting was summoned by the Executive Director of Kids and Teens Resource Centre, Martin-Mary Falana, who noted that it is an annual celebration but unique with this year’s theme: “Breastfeeding and Work,” which led to the inclusion of trade unions, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the media and other stakeholders.

He said that it is not enough to give maternity leave to women, but they must have the enabling environment to exclusively breastfeed their children as advocated by the government and members of the public.

Stakeholders at the forum, alongside the Deputy Director of Kids and Teens, Charles Durojaiye, who emphasized that the fundamental human rights of women should be sacrosanct, advocated for “time, space and support” for breastfeeding mothers.

According to him: “The WBW 2015 theme on working women and breastfeeding revisits the 1993 WBW campaign on the mother-friendly workplace initiative.”

“Much has been achieved in 22 years of global action supporting women in combining breastfeeding and work,” he said, expressing the commitment of the organisation and its international allies to support organisations with crèche and women-friendly policies in Nigeria.

Dr Cornelius Omode, a resident doctor at the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital (UITH), said that “exclusive breastfeeding is very important to a new born because of the fact that it contains a lot of things that help baby immunity, especially the colostrum from the mother.”

He noted that if government should implement policies in respect to working conditions of the parents, it will have great advantage to the baby and general well-being of the nation.

The medical personnel urged the government to consider “paternal leave” for the fathers and asked for a review of the four months maternal leave granted to the mothers to six months, so that it will square up with the six months exclusive breastfeeding recommendation, which he described as the best practice all over the world.

The chairperson of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mrs Yusuf Hasanat Taiwo, urged mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the overall well-being of the babies and the mothers as well.

She remarked, in reference to the submission of medical experts that, any mother who breastfeeds five babies consecutively will be free from the risk of having cancer of the breast.

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