GOVERNMENTS of all Nigerian states controlled by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have agreed to offer six-month maternity leave to all new mothers in a bid to enable them breast feed their babies.
Yesterday, members of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) held a virtual meeting where among other things they discussed developing common policy initiatives on maternal and child nutrition. After the meeting they issued a communiqué, signed by the secretaries to the Jigawa and Plateau state governments Alhaji Adamu Fanini and Professor Danladi Atu, in which they said the decision was in furtherance of parental support for children at birth and the health of the nursing parents.
Their communiqué read: “In view of the importance of parental support for children at birth and the health of the nursing parents, the meeting recommend that APC-controlled states should prioritise implementation of 180 days or six months maternity leave for women. The meeting observed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the growth and general health of a child and therefore recommends that APC-controlled states should encourage and support women to practice six months exclusive breastfeeding for children from birth.
“The meeting equally noted the importance of information and how it affects the attitudes of citizens toward the issues of nutrition and therefore urge APC-controlled states to design a special communication strategy to raise public awareness on malnutrition and its consequences. Also, the meeting observed that there is no institutional framework for the implementation of programmes on food and nutrition in some states and therefore resolved that APC controlled states should set up state committees on food and nutrition to relate with all federal government programmes on the matter.
“The meeting equally encouraged each APC controlled state to continually give status reports on what currently obtains in their state with a view to creating a template that reflects the current status of each APC state on child nutrition. Also, each secretary to the state government should nominate a focal person for their state to relate with the PGF secretariat on implementation.”