The Programme Director, Nigeria, Alive and Thrive, Mr. Victor Ogbodo, has given kudos to Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State for extending maternity leave for female government workers to six months.
Governor El-rufai who was sworn in for his second term in office on Wednesday, in his inaugural speech announced the extension of maternal leave from three to six months, Vanguard reports.
Ogbodo in a statement in Kaduna today described the development as an ‘investment in human capital development‘, noting that it would promote mother-child care and reduce the maternal and newborn mortality rate in the state.
“Once again, the Kaduna State Government has underscored its commitment to saving the lives of babies in the state.
“This is a huge long-term investment in human capital development that will serve the state well, now and in the future.
“Alive and Thrive commends Gov. El-Rufai for taking this important step and improving the enabling environment for women in the state public service.
“This will enable them to give their babies the best start in life with exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
“This policy, the second of its kind in the country after Lagos state will help to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding, reduce child mortality and morbidity rate,” Ogbodo said.
He explained that the move follows advocacy efforts, pushing for six months maternity leave in the state, led by Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP).
Ogbodo said that the advocacy was supported by Alive & Thrive in collaboration with Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigerian, UNICEF and other nutrition partners in the state.
He also thanked the wife of the governor, Hajiya Ummi El-Rufai, Co-Chair, KADENAP for the leadership and strong commitment in promoting appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices in the state.
According to him, appropriate IYCF practices will ensure that infants and children under five years in the state start strong in life.
“We hope that this development will provide the needed inspiration for more states across Nigeria to formulate similar policies to improve breastfeeding practices.”
NAN reports that Alive and Thrive, managed by FHI 360 was established in 2008 to save lives, prevent illnesses, and ensure healthy growth and development through optimal maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, and complementary feeding practices.
It is being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Irish Aid, the Tanoto Foundation, and UNICEF.