As part of efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding and boost child survival, the Bauchi State House of Assembly (BAHA) said it has put a machinery in motion to enact a law that will increase maternity leave for working mothers in the state from three to six months
The Chairman, House Committee on Health of the Assembly, Hon. Lawal Dauda, disclosed this on Sunday, at a media Dialogue organised by the Bauchi Field office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to mark the 2023 world Breastfeeding week held at Azare, headquarters of Katagum Local Government Area of the State.
Dauda, who represents Sade constituency in the state House of Assembly, said the proposed law, if enacted, would promote best breastfeeding practices and save the lives of children under the age of five.
According to the lawmaker, “there have been agitations by stakeholders and international partners to extend maternity leave to support the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding and healthy children in the state.
“We also had brainstorming meeting with key stakeholders including donor partners on enabling breastfeeding for working mothers.
“As House of Assembly members representing our constituents, we will ensure that there is improved breastfeeding practices that have potential to save lives of many children under five years.”
The lawmaker explained that, “at a recent plenary session after the workshop, the House reviewed the need to extend the current maternity from three months to six months.
“The request by Her Excellency, the First Lady of Bauchi State, was to make it to be six months. The Assembly members are committed to ensure that we pass that law.
“I assure you that since the First Lady is in the picture of what transpired there, she will encourage her husband to implement that law. Our responsibility is to pass law and I assure you that law will be history and Bauchi will be the first in the north-east to pass that law.
He added that: “We are going to engage public hearing before we pass that law. We will engage the Heads of ministries and agencies, traditional rulers and the traditional rulers so that we discuss with them since we are representing them.”
Also speaking in the same vein, the Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, expressed the state government’s readiness to enact a law that will support breastfeeding mothers with months of paid maternity leave and provision of crèches to breastfeed their babies in their workplaces across the state.
The Executive Chairman who said the present administration was passionate about the healthcare of the citizens noted that UNICEF and the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency started the discussion on second of August with the Wife of the Governor, Aisha Bala Mohammed, during the flagging-off ceremony of the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW).
He further disclosed that during the discussion, it was agreed that a law be proposed to the State House of Assembly to be enacted to create an enabling environment for working-class mothers to have maternity leave.
Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi