From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Nasarawa State Government has extended maternity leave for nursing mothers from four to six months to enable rapid brain development in children that occurs during their earliest days.
The State Commissioner for Health, Pharm. Ahmed Yahaya said, the extension is to encourage and improve the exclusive breastfeeding programme among working class mothers, as well as provide their babies the needed nutrients for the first 1000 days.
In a statement issued Friday, by the Public Relations Officer (PRO), state Ministry of Health, Mr Musa Abdullahi, the commissioner made the disclosure while playing host to Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) who paid him an advocacy visit.
He described the extension of maternity leave for civil servants as an investment in human capital development which will go along way in addressing the issue of malnutrition in children across the 13 local government areas of the state.
According to the statement, the commissioner said as an emergency Action Plan, the Ministry of Health will write a Leave Bill to the Governor of the state, Engr Abdullahi Sule for onward transmittion to the State House of Assembly to make it a law.
“The bill will provide for six months of maternity leave for women and
government will translate the pronouncement of the approved six months of maternity leave into law to ensure sustainability.
“This will ensure the survival, healthy growth and development of the child into an intelligent, innovative and creative adult that will contribute to the development of the state and the nation.
“The government with the support of development partners is equally implementing community management of acute malnutrition, infant and young child feeding intervention. All these are in a bid to improve the nutrition status of women and children in the state,’’ the statement said.
The statement also noted that the CS- SUNN delegation to the state was headed by its Chairperson, Mrs Mercy Aso among other officials of the organisation.