NIGER, Nigeria – The State House of Assembly Speaker, Honorable Abdullahi Bawa Wuse has backed the call for six months paid maternity leave for nursing mothers in thé state.

Bawa during a two-day review meeting on allocation, releases and utilization of nutrition budget with key stakeholders from the Legislature and Nutrition Line Ministries in Niger State organized by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), said the paid maternity leave would encourage mothers to get involved in exclusive breastfeeding.

He reasoned that the present three months of maternity leave given to nursing mothers does not encourage exclusive breastfeeding for babies.

“Six months maternity leave is worth it, in view of the very serious situation of malnutrition in the state, the malnutrition rate is very alarming. If there is a need for the policy to be approved, we will give the backing for that.”

The Speaker noted the need for the approval of the Action Plan on Nutrition in the state stressing that “malnutrition needs a multi-sectoral approach to eradicate it.”

“We need to join hands to ensure that we bring up children that are not malnourished. Because if we allow the situation to continue to degenerate, society will suffer for it. ”

He urged the government at all levels to increase awareness and sensitization about malnutrition, saying a lot of people in the state do not know what it is all about.

Also, the Permanent Secretary of the Niger State Planning Commission, Hajiya Ramatu Umar said the pre-budget review meeting is meant to analyse the nutrition situation in the state, review the 2019/2020 budget performance and the 2021 nutrition sector budget proposal.

Similarly, the Project Manager of CS-SUNN National, Okonkwo Sunday explained that one of the critical challenges that drive malnutrition is lack of funding which the pre-budget review meeting seeks to tackle.

According to him, the objective of the meeting is to resolve on the best way to move forward and eradicate malnutrition in the state totally.

Niger State Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Asmau Abubakar Mohammed in her contribution said for the fight against malnutrition to have the much-desired success, close cooperation and support is essential between community leaders, volunteers, health facility staff, and caregivers.

Source: Holystar Raplord