Economy: NGO Advocates More Investment In Maternity Sector

March Health Care Initiative (MHI), an NGO, on Monday said investing in Nigeria’s maternity protection would produce a healthier and productive workforce as well as a stronger economy.
Mrs Olubunmi Aiyedun, the President, Maternal Adolescent and Reproductive Child Healthcare Initiative (MARCH Healthcare Initiative), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
She explained that breastfeeding was essential as it saves lives, improves women and children health, and boosts their intelligence and lifelong productivity, hence the need to invest in maternal and child healthcare.
“Most women are part of labour force and some in the formal workforce, thus improving maternity protection such as extending paid maternity leave and workplace support for breastfeeding would boost the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the country.
“Also mothers will provide their infants with the very best start to life leading to improved health, social and economy outcomes for Nigeria,’’ she explained.
Aiyedun said according to a recent report by the National Maternity Entitlement Survey “only nine per cent of organisations had a workplace breastfeeding policy.
“1.5 Per cent of public sector and 23 per cent of private sector organisations provide crèches or day care.
“While 72 per cent of women are in favour of extending national maternity leave policy.
“However, only 30 per cent of women take their entire maternity leave currently granted by legislation or employers,’’ she said.
Aiyedun listed factors that encourage mothers to continue breastfeeding after returning to work to include availability of breastfeeding room, provision of crèches, and breastfeeding breaks supported by the work place.
Others include reduction in hours while breastfeeding, nursing facilities and availability of nearby crèches to workplace.
She noted that policy makers, government entities and employers have a role to play in supporting and improving Nigeria’s maternity entitlements.
She said it was crucial that policy makers advocated for and support legislation that enable women to take advantage of sufficient and paid maternity leave.
Aiyedun maintained that it would also promote policies that support mothers and fathers after they return to work.
She said government entities should develop monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to ensure organisations offer consistent benefits and engage informal sector to create supportive environment for women.
She added that government entities should require organisations to educate and inform employees about all policies and benefits.
Aiyedun further mentioned that employees must also ensure consistency with national and states policies to offer private breastfeeding rooms, flexible hours and breastfeeding breaks within official policies.
She said if such polices were fully implemented, it would lead to reduction in child mortality, better mental and physical health for mothers, absenteeism would reduce while productivity increased with job satisfaction.

READ  #Coronavirus: Death Toll Climbs To 106 As Infections Reach 4,5000

Recommended For You

Leave a Reply