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Fed Govt to domesticate 18 weeks maternity leave

By The Citizen
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The Minister of Labour and Productivity Dr Chris Ngige has said that he will liaise with his health counterpart Prof. Isaac Adewole to make the Federal Executive Council domesticate 18 weeks maternity leave in Nigeria.

He states this yesterday in Abuja during the launch of 2016 Lancet Series on Breast feeding, and high- level policy dialogue on promoting breast feeding in Nigeria.

Ngige said Nigeria presently has a policy of 16 weeks maternity leave that is 12 weeks after pregnancy (3 months) and the four weeks annual leave, negating Article 183 of the International Labour organization (ILO) which stipulates 18 weeks.

He added that Nigeria has not domesticated this stipulation and decried the inadequate and non-provision of maternity leave in public and private organizations.

He said the ministry of labour and employment will soon do a memo to all categories of government establishments and private institutions to establish recreational centres to aid women breastfeed their babies.

Professor Adewole urged Nigerians to join in the war against any undermining behaviours, against protecting, promoting and supporting optimal breastfeeding practices and adequate nutritional practices in Nigeria.

He said adequate nutritional practices which begins with breastfeeding is the best and normal way of providing newborns, infants and young  children with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.

Wife of the president, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, represented by wife of the Niger State governor Dr Amina Abello, said Nigeria is one of the worst breastfeeding countries in West Africa, adding that while 80 per cent of children in Nigeria are breastfed at least once in their lives, only 17 per cent of them are exclusively breastfed in the recommended first six months of life.