Exclusive Breastfeeding: Varsity Don Pleads FG To Extend Maternity Leave For Working Mothers To Six Months - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS

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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Exclusive Breastfeeding: Varsity Don Pleads FG To Extend Maternity Leave For Working Mothers To Six Months


Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji
ABEOKUTA - A professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, Omolola Ogundahunsi, has explained that working mothers required a protective law to enable them exclusively breastfeed for six months according to the FG’s action plan, stressing that maternity leave could also be extended to six months in order to help working women achieve exclusive breastfeeding.

Ogundahunsi who delivered on Thursday at the 93rd inaugural lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago – Iwoye Ogun State, noted that, the federal government’s goals on National Breastfeeding Policy and Action Plan 2015 – 2020 in Nigeria may not be realised until the National Assembly (NASS) evolves a legal framework that would enable the working mothers to devote time for exclusive breastfeeding of their babies for the first six months of life. 

It would be recalled that the National Breastfeeding Policy and Action Plan 2015 – 2020 is a World Health Organization’s (WHO) document adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria in year 2015 which advocated for among others, a nutritional policy, strategy or plan focusing on specific nutrition areas.

In her lecture titled: “To Eat Or Not To Eat? That Is The Question”, Ogundahunsi urged the nation’s lawmakers to come out with legal framework on exclusive Breastfeeding, noting that exclusive breastfeeding can sustain a child’s growth for the first six months of life even when the mother is marginally malnourished.

“We should continue to encourage our mothers to breastfeed exclusively for six months and non – exclusively up to two years as evidence abound that breastfeeding can sustain a child growth for the first six months of life even when the mother is marginally malnourished.

“Maternity leave could be extended to six months in order to help women achieve exclusive breastfeeding. A legal framework to manage the implementation of the National Breastfeeding policy is achieved.”

The Professor also identified Non – communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, mental and neurological disorders, obesity, asthma, kidney disease, chronic lung diseases among others as growing health concern in the country.

She said while there were non – modifiable risk factors to the development of NCDs such as genetics, ethnicity, age and sex, she added that it has been established that dietary adjustments not only influence individual’s current health, but also determine whether individual could develop one or more of the NCDs.

She, therefore, recommended that bitter kola, ginger, garlic and alligator pepper should form parts of one’s regular diet to either prevent NCDs or as panacea in the management of any of it.

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