The Enugu State Government has amended its Civil Service rules to grant six months maternity leave to nursing mothers.
Interestingly, husbands whose wives might put to bed were also given a ‘paternity leave’, but it would only be for just three weeks.
Punch Newspaper is reporting that the paternity leave was meant to give such husbands the opportunity to support their nursing wives, according to the state government.
Before, female workers who gave birth were entitled to three months maternity leave while the men whose wives delivered babies were not exempted from work.
Similarly, the state government also resolved that henceforth, nursing mothers were free to breast-feed their babies in offices during work hours.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sam Ngwu, who disclosed these in Enugu on Wednesday, said the new policy would strengthen the family as a social unit and also promote mother and child welfare.
Unveiling plans to mark the 2015 Breast Feeding Week in the state, Ngwu explained that the extension of the maternity leave would encourage nursing mothers in the state to engage in the internationally recommended four to six months exclusive breast feeding of newborn babies.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Moses Otiji, noted that the state has been marking ‘’the Breast Feeding Week’’ every year in order to galvanise support for nursing mothers.
Ngwu further explained that the theme of this year’s Breast Feeding Week – ‘Breast feeding and work, let’s make it happen’, was in line with the state government’s commitment to the needs of nursing mothers and newborns.
He said nursing mothers should be allowed to continuously breast feed their babies anywhere they work, whether in the private or public sector.
According to him, lectures would be organised for nursing mothers in the course of the breast feeding week to enable them learn more about exclusive breast feeding.
“The week is dedicated to draw the attention of the public on the need for exclusive breast feeding.
“The breast contains yellow milk that contains most of the vital ingredients for healthy growth of the baby.
“It protects the baby from diseases and promotes bonding between mother and child,” he added.