World Breastfeeding Week: UNICEF Urges Kano Govt to Approve Six Months Maternity Leave

World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF, Kano Govt , Maternity Leave, Kano SSG , Workers Employed By Ganduje,

*Kano SSG Inaugurates Committee to Screen 10, 800 Workers Employed By Ganduje

By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh/Kano

The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF), on Wednesday, urged Kano state government to extend paid maternity leave for government employees from the current three months to six months, emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding.

UNICEF Chief of Kano Field Office, Mr. Rahama Rihood Mohammed Farah, made the urge, during the flag-off cemermey of 2023 World Breastfeeding Week, held at E-Clinic, Dakata Road, Kano.

Farah laid emphasis on the need to give full support and privileges to breastfeeding mothers.

He tasked the state government to prioritize the needs of working parents through provision of lactation rooms/crèches in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and implement breastfeeding breaks and flexible work arrangements.

He maintained that government should reinforce messages on good nutrition and health during the first 1,000 days of life through various platforms, including media, public spaces, and workplaces.

UNICEF also adivised Kano state government to provide adequate resources for prevention of malnutrition through promotion, protection and support for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition.

According to Farah, “by taking these steps, workplaces can set a positive example for others to follow, ultimately leading to healthier and happier families.”

To working mothers and parents, Farah urged them to, “advocate for your right to breastfeed while advancing your career. Seek support from your employers and create a breastfeeding plan that suits your needs.

“Prioritize self-care and explore strategies like expressing milk to ensure your child receives the best nourishment possible, even while you are at work.

“For mothers with access to digital platforms, join online and offline networks to share experiences, gain knowledge, and receive encouragement as breastfeeding working parents.”

Farah said the theme of the programme:”Enabling Breastfeeding – Making a Difference for Working Parents,” was timely.

He further stated that: “This annual event serves as a powerful platform to raise awareness and gather support for breastfeeding, with each year centered around a specific theme.

“The theme, Enabling Breastfeeding – Making a Difference for Working Parents, this year we’re focused on Breastfeeding and work.

“Breastfeeding is not only a natural act but also critical for the health and wellbeing of children and mothers.

“As we gather to celebrate this week, it is very important to reflect on the progress we have made so far and the strides that still lie ahead in supporting working parents.

“Nigeria currently implements two maternity entitlement provisions. The first, enshrined in the Nigerian Labour Act, which provides up to 12 weeks of maternity leave with at least 50% of salary and breastfeeding breaks during working hours.

“The second, adopted by the Federal Public Service and pending ratification by states and local civil service, offers a 16-week maternity leave with full pay and two hours off each day to breastfeed up to six months after resuming duty.

“While some states have made commendable strides in offering fully paid maternity leave, there is much room for improvement. We must foster a workplace culture that recognizes the critical role of both parents in raising a healthy and happy child.

“Presently, the formal sector employs approximately one million women, while 95% of women work within the informal sector. Shockingly, only 9% of organizations have a workplace breastfeeding policy, with only 1.5% in the public sector.

“This has to change. We need to create an environment where working parents are supported in their journey of nurturing their children while also pursuing their careers.

“Reported employee benefits of having a workplace breastfeeding policy include an easier transition back to work after maternity leave, improved retention of female employees, and lower absenteeism rates due to better maternal and child health.

” For employers, supporting working parents through breastfeeding-friendly policies results in improved employer-employee relations, increased loyalty, higher job productivity, and a positive impact on gender equality and work-life balance.

“Finally, as breastfeeding is shared responsibility, I call on everyone, traditional and religious, Community leaders, CSOs, media, and everyone to support breastfeeding.

“Together, we can create a supportive environment that enables breastfeeding, fosters work-life balance, and ensures the health and happiness of our families.
Let us stand united in supporting working parents, one latch at a time.
Breastfeeding unites the workplace and home.

Thank you, and I wish you all a successful and impactful World Breastfeeding Week.”

In his remarks, Kano state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf, who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Hajiya Amina Aliyu Musa,said, “the importance of breastfeesing cannot be overemphasized. It is very important for our nursing mothers to breastfeed our children.

” Kano state government is looking into the policy of elongagting maternity leave for breastfeeding mothers from three months to six months. The state government has been doing a lot for prevention of malnutrition of our children.

“Government is committed to the growth and welfare of our children. This is evident in the re-opening of Hasiya Bayero Paediatric hospital. Our Governor, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf is very passionate about the health and wellbeing of children and nursing mothers.”

The Commissioner expressed appreciation to development partners, including UNICEF, Nutrition International (NI), Alive&Thtive, and CS-SUN.

Kano SSG Inaugurates Committee to Screen 10, 800 Workers Employed By Ganduje

Secretary to Kano State Government (SSG), Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, on Wednesday, inaugurated a Verification Committee to screen about 10, 800 civil servants employed during the last lap of the immediate-past administration of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to establish whether due process was followed, in their recruitment exercise.

Inaugurating the Committee in his office, the SSG said: “Recall that the present Administration had after its inauguration, inherited a number of challenges from the immediate past administration that currently have spillover effects on the state’s polity, which necessitated initiating measures aimed at addressing them.

“Such challenges include unwarranted deductions of salaries and pensions of civil servants and pensioners respectively, non-evacuation of refuse that littered nooks and crannies of the State, abandoned healthcare and emergency services, non-supply of diesel to support the street lights in the metropolis and so on.

“Other issue, which informed our gathering here was the last minute employment of over 10,000 Civil Servants without following the laid down rules and regulations governing employment into the civil service.

“Government viewed this as an anomaly and therefore, resolved to set up a committee to study and review the entire process, with a view to determining whether or not the employment process was informed by the expressed manpower need and requirement of the affected MDAS or are just based on certain primordial considerations suggesting nepotism as alleged;

“Other mandates assigned to the committee include compiling the list of the already employed staff as well as establish the financial implications on State finances and ascertain whether budgetary provisions were adhered to followed:

“Identify those already enlisted into the state payroll, sequel to their recruitment cum those that are yet to receive appointment letters following the stoppage of the exercise by the present Government;

“Government expects you to use your wealth of experience to assiduously execute this assignment and submit report within two weeks from this date of inauguration.”

The Committee headed by the Chairman of the state Civil Service Commission, Alhaji Umar Shehu Minjibir, was given three weeks to complete their assignment.

In his response, Chairman of the Committee said, “certainly, on behalf of the members of the Committee, I will like to assure you (SSG) and through you, the state Governor, His Excellency, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, that we have accepted to serve in this Committee, and we will do our best.

“I want to assure you also that we are going to do justice to those civil servants that were employed doing the last lap of the immediate-past administration, and that we will do our assignment without fear or favor.

” I assure the SSG and the governor that we will do this assignment within the stipulated time. We are not going to disappoint you. Like I said, we will look at both sides, the government side, and the side of those civil servants who were employed by the immediate-past administration.”