Wife of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Hajiya Aisha-Ummi, has described the extension of maternity leave for civil servants from three months to six months as an investment in human capital development.
Mrs El-Rufa’i, Chairperson, Kaduna State Nutrition Emergency Action Plan, stated this in Kaduna on Wednesday at a two-day stakeholder’s validation meeting on the Maternity and Paternity Leave Bill.
The Bill provides for six months of maternity leave for women and proposes two weeks paternity leave for husbands who work in public service.
She said that the government was translating the pronouncement of the approved six-month maternity leave into law to ensure sustainability.
According to her, this step will encourage and improve the six months of exclusive breastfeeding among working mothers to provide the babies with the needed nutrients for the first 1,000 days of their lives.
“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 extension will equally help the full recovery of women after childbirth and support them to breastfeed their children exclusively for six months without any fear of losing their jobs.
“The maternity leave will further ensure effective access to quality maternal healthcare, thereby contributing to the health and well-being of mothers and their babies, El-Rufa’í said.
She added that the state government had also adapted and approved some of the national food and nutrition policies, strategies, and plans, to improve the nutritional status of women and children.
She identified some of these policies, strategies and plans to include State Policy on Food and Nutrition, State Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition, 2016-2020, and State Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Strategy, 2019-2023.
“Others are State Multi-Sectorial Strategic Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition, 2020-2024, and Draft Social and Behaviour Change Communication Strategy for Infant and Young Children Feeding, 2017-2021.
“The government, with 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,’’ she said.