By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has advised the Kano State Government to provide adequate resources for the prevention of malnutrition by promoting, protecting and supporting maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
The UNICEF Kano Field Officer, Mr Rahama Farah, made the call on Wednesday during the flag-off of the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week in Kano.
He described the programme’s theme “Enabling Breastfeeding – Making a Difference for Working Parents as “very timely.”
Mr Farah called on the state government to extend paid maternity leave for government employees from the current three months to six months, emphasising the importance of breastfeeding.
He said that government should reinforce messages on good nutrition and health during the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life, through various platforms, including media, public spaces and workplaces.
He tasked the state government to prioritise needs of working parents through provision of lactation rooms and crèche in all ministries, departments and agencies and implement breastfeeding breaks and flexible work arrangements.
“Taking these steps workplaces can set a positive example for others to follow, ultimately leading to healthier and happier families.
“There’s need for working mothers and parents to advocate for their right to breastfeed while advancing their career. They should seek support from their employers and create a breastfeeding plan that suits their needs.
“As nursing mothers, you should prioritise self-care and explore strategies like expressing milk to ensure your child receives the best nourishment possible, even while you are at work,” he advised.
Earlier, Kano State Commissioner for Health, Dr Abubakar Labaran, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Hajiya Amina Aliyu Musa, played up the importance of breast feeding.
“Kano State Government is looking into elongating maternity leave for breastfeeding mothers from three months to six months. The state government has been doing a lot to prevent the malnutrition of our children.
“Government is committed to the growth and welfare of our children. This is evident in the re-opening of Hajiya Bayero Paediatric Hospital.
“Governor Abba Kabir-Yusuf is very passionate about the health and wellbeing of children and nursing mothers,” he said.
The commissioner expressed appreciation to development partners, including UNICEF, Nutrition International (NI), Alive& Thrive, and CS-SUN for what they were doing in the state.