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Published On: Tue, Aug 4th, 2020

2020 WBW: Group calls on State governments to approve 6 months maternity leave

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From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on State governments to approve 6 months maternity leave and ensure breastfeeding-friendly environment/creches in workplaces.
The Executive Secretary of CS-SUNN Beatrice Eluaka stated this in a statement to commemorate the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW), and made available to media in kaduna yesterday.
The statement called for Implementation of the Multisectoral Plan of Action for Nutrition at the national and state levels
The Group also advocates for Strengthening the capacity of health systems to provide counseling on infant and young child feeding practices and the resuscitation of Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
Speaking on the theme of this 2020 World Breastfeeding Week “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet” Mrs Eluaka said breastmilk, is a natural renewable food that is environmentally safe for infants because it is produced and delivered to infants without pollution, packaging and waste.
“The theme focuses on the impact of infant feeding on the environment/climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people.
“ According to the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action WABA; Breastfeeding is a prime example of the deep connections between human health and natures eco system. WABA also reinstates that protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding addresses inequalities that stand in the way of sustainable development.
“ The Alliance further notes that artificial feeding leaves a major environmental footprint that contributes to the depletion of natural resources, environment degradation and green-house emissions that cause global warming and climate change.
“ Nigeria’s Exclusive breastfeeding rate had remained abysmally low with only a marginal increase from
2% in 1990 to 17% in 2013 (NNHS).
“ It then jumped to 27% as reported in the 2018NNHS. Although some minimal progress has been made in this regard, CS-SUNN questions what impact this 26-year long custom, (the WBW celebration) has had on breastfeeding in Nigeria.
“The alliance is further concerned about how Nigeria will meet the global targets of 65% Exclusive Breastfeeding rate by 2025.
“With the country’s current childhood under-nutrition indicator put at 37% stunting, 7% wasting and 23% underweight (NDHS, 2018) and about 2.6 million children under the age of five threatened by malnutrition (2018 NNHS), a lot still needs to be done to eradicate the country’s challenge of malnutrition” the statement reads.

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