The First Lady of Ekiti State, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, has canvassed for the provision of facilities that would enable nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies at their workplaces in order to enhance exclusive breastfeeding.
Oyebanji also urged banks and other corporate organisations to give nursing mothers in their employment and their babies a sense of belonging by providing them opportunities and facilities to practice exclusive breastfeeding.
She made the call yesterday during the flag-off ceremony of the 2023 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) that was held in her office in Ado Ekiti where she also urged husbands of breastfeeding mothers in Ekiti State to utilise the two-week paternity leave approved for them by the state government to assist their wives in taking care of their baby.
The first lady explained that apart from the six-month maternity leave approved for mothers of newborn babies to be away from work, government also thought it wise to give their husbands two-week paternity leave to allow fathers and mothers of newborn babies give them full attention to aid their growth.
The first lady revealed she practiced exclusive breastfeeding for all her kids at the stage of infancy, noting that the practice develops the mental faculties of babies, gives them immunity from diseases and facilitate bonding between babies and mothers.
She urged the leaders of market women who were present at the occasion to take the campaign for exclusive breastfeeding to marketplaces to encourage their young members to key into the practice for their own good and for the good of their babies.
Reiterating the theme for this year’s WBW, “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making a Difference for Working Parents,”
Oyebanji said: “This year’s theme focuses on breastfeeding and work, providing a strategic opportunity to advocate for essential maternity rights that support breastfeeding i.e. paid six months maternity leave and paternity leave, including providing a mother-friendly work place accommodation like breastfeeding room or mother’s room after returning to work from maternity leave. These will ensure women are able to breastfeed for as long as they wish to.”
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, remarked that it is critical and important for the government and people of Ekiti State to continue to propagate the importance of breastfeeding, describing the first six months as “very critical to the growth of the child.”
Filani said that the state government would continue to engage the people on programmes that allow children to develop in health and wellness, which would enable Ekiti to be a reference point in infant and maternal health in the comity of states in Nigeria.
The Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Adedayo Isaac, hailed the state government for its commitment to issues of infant and maternal health and commended the first lady for championing the campaign for exclusive breastfeeding in the state.
A representative of the state chapter of the Association of Women Doctors (AWD) at the ceremony, Dr. Esther Akinsoto, noted that conducive environment would help lactation and advocated for more intensive enlightenment of the populace.
The event was attended by nursing mothers who came with their babies, health officials, and representatives of market women association led by their state president, Ms. Habibat Ogunjobi.
Gifts were distributed to the nursing mothers and their babies at the end of the programme by the wife of the state governor.