States plan 6-month maternity leave for women, approve framework for child nutrition

*APC-led states should prioritise implementation of 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for women, say SSGs

*No institutional framework for activation of programmes on food, nutrition in some states

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In appreciating the strategic importance of womenfolk to exclusive breastfeeding in promoting child nutrition in the country, the All Progressives Congress-controlled states are considering the implementation of six-month of maternity leave for Nigerian women.

ConsumerConnect reports the Secretaries to State Governments (SSGs) disclosed this in a communiqué after a virtual meeting held under the umbrella of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).

Adamu Fanini and Danladi Atu, Secretaries to State Governments of Jigawa and Plateau states respectively signed the communiqué.

Currently, nursing mothers in most parts of the country are entitled to only three months’ paid leave.

The SSGs stated that their meeting with the theme, ‘Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Maternal & Child Nutrition Promotion in APC States’ was held to identify salient and common initiatives of Maternal and Child Nutrition that can be replicated across all the APC-controlled states.

The communiqué noted that Governor of Simon Bako of Plateau State and Co-Chairman of PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee, declared the meeting open, while Governor Mohammed Abubakar-Badaru of Jigawa State declared it close.

According to the communiqué, “in view of the importance of parental support for children at birth and the health of the nursing parents, the meeting recommended that APC-controlled states should prioritise implementation of 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for women.

“The meeting observed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the growth and general health of a child and therefore recommended 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 towards issues of nutrition.”

They urged the concerned states to design a special communication strategy to raise public awareness on malnutrition and its consequences.

The communiqué said: “The meeting observed that there is no institutional framework for the implementation of programmes on food and nutrition in some states.”

It, therefore, resolved that APC controlled states should set up State Committees on Food and Nutrition to relate with all FG programmes on Food and Nutrition and coordinate PGF’s implementation framework on child nutrition.

“The meeting equally encouraged each APC controlled state to continually give status report on what currently obtains in their states with a view to creating a template that reflects the current status of each state on Child Nutrition.

“Each SSG should nominate the focal person for their state to relate with the PGF Secretariat on the implementation,” it disclosed.

It also adopted the PGF Secretariat’s proposal for follow-up meetings with Commissioners for Health, Education, and Agriculture of APC-controlled states so as to develop sectoral work plans for the implementation of the approved framework on “Promoting Child Nutrition in APC states, Challenges, and Opportunities for Action”.

Participants in the meeting agreed to continually share information, ideas, and knowledge through their quarterly meetings with the PGF Secretariat to promote synergy across member-states and facilitate greater cooperation for uniform or common policy initiatives geared towards sustainable development, the statement added.

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