The Oyo State Government has appealed to corporate bodies and the private sector to key into the state government initiative of extending maternity leave to six months.
It says this is in line with international best practices on exclusive breastfeeding and to promote healthy living for working nursing mothers and their babies.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Bode Ladipo, made the appeal in a briefing to mark the 2022 World Breastfeeding Week celebration, with the theme “Step up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support” organised by the State Primary Healthcare Board and held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Health, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
Ladipo, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the state Primary Healthcare Board, Dr Muyideen Olatunji, explained that efforts were in top gear to improve under-five nutritional status in the state by ensuring all actors support exclusive breastfeeding practices, so as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs 1 – 6.
In line with the year 2022 theme, the commissioner stressed that the state government is set to rededicate itself to prioritising breastfeeding-friendly environment for mothers and babies, by ensuring full implementation of international code for marketing of breast milk substitutes and ensuring employers allow women the time and space they need to breastfeed, amongst other measures.
He said: “We need to create more awareness for the promotion of breastfeeding. The state government has extended the maternity leave for mothers to six months and if the state has done this, it only shows greater commitment. And it’s not going to be by coercion but by conviction that we have taken the lead.
“We expect every other sector in the state to adopt and adapt this policy drive by the state government so that their workers can be optimally productive. It helps to promote the health of the children and in the long run, the human development index can be said to improve,” Ladipo explained.
The World Breastfeeding Week celebration is an annual event to create awareness, promote, protect and support the process of exclusive breastfeeding practices for a period of six months, to reduce the surge in infant mortality rate.