WBW: SCI makes case for mothers in refugee camps
By: Femi Mustapha
Save the Children International has said Government and partners need to set up mother and baby areas to ensure that mothers in refugee camps can receive adequate information, advice, encouragement, and counseling on infant and young child feeding practices.
This was contained in a statement by the Country Director, SCI Nigeria, Famari Barro, and made available to the Media in Kaduna on the 1st of August, 2023.
The statement is that part of this year’s commemoration of World Breastfeeding Week from the 1st to the 7th of August 2023 with the theme “Enabling Breastfeeding, Making a Difference for Working Parents. ‘ Stated that Breastfeeding support is possible regardless of workplace, sector, or contract type and Employers must provide maternity protections and paid entitlements to improve children and women’s health thereby increasing exclusive breastfeeding for the well-being of the child
The organization, therefore called on the Government, Ministries of Health and Nutrition, Information and Culture, and other stakeholders to do more in addressing the needs of breastfeeding mothers at home, work, and communities.
Famari Barro says Nigeria needs to rise to the call for better breastfeeding-friendly environments, both for the urban and rural settings, as well as the formal and informal working-class groups of breastfeeding mothers.
The statement calls for a review of laws and measures that deprive lactating mothers of the opportunity to practice exclusive breastfeeding both in formal and informal settings.
It says children across Nigeria must be fed well, solely on exclusive breast milk for the first 6 months of their lives.
It notes that Government laws and policies must support and ensure implementation of at least 18 weeks, even more, 6 months, and also to paid maternity leave to promote exclusive breastfeeding across the country.
It maintains that the 6 months paid maternity leave and 2 weeks paternity leave bill should be passed and signed into law to provide sustainable support for breastfeeding from the government.
“Breast Milk is the most important meal for a child after birth. Exclusive breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant with only breast milk for the first 6 months of the child’s life without water or formula as directed by the World Health Organization.
“This is ideal for the child as breast milk contains nutrients and antibodies that protect the child from common illnesses. However, Nigeria falls short on this mandate as only 29% of infants aged 0-6 months are exclusively breastfed leaving 71% of infants lacking the benefits of breast milk in their formative years. Only 9% of organizations have a workplace breastfeeding policy.”