As the world observes the Breast Feeding Week the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has reminded employers to create enabling working environments for breast feeding mothers.
In her message on the week, Kadaga urged employers to emulate Parliament by establishing day care centres for mothers to nurse their babies.
“We have a breast feeding facility in Parliament where both the MPs and staff are able to keep their babies and work at the same time,” said Kadaga.
Meanwhile, the State Minister of Health in-charge of General Duties, Sarah Opendi revealed that attempts to advocate for six months’ maternity leave to allow for exclusive breast feeding have not yet yielded results.
She however, noted that the proposed six months’ leave is disadvantageous to female employees since the work environment is highly competitive .
“If we pushed for this, what will make an employer employ a woman who will be away for six months? This is why we are encouraging employers to create breastfeeding areas for the nursing mothers,” said Opendi.
The Minister made the remarks during a social media chat with Parliament’s Department of Communications and Public Affairs and Journalists at Parliament on 2 August, 2018.
Opendi also called on government to provide resources for recruitment of Assistant District Health Officers in-charge of maternal and child health.
She said that this will facilitate sensitization of mothers on issues of maternal and child health including breast feeding.
“Every district is supposed to have an officer in charge of child and maternal health, but not all districts have these officers recruited. This is a big gap because District Health Officers alone are not enough,” Opendi said.
She however, noted that despite the existing gaps, mothers should embrace breastfeeding.
She warned that mothers who shun breastfeeding expose their children to diseases including cancer and diabetes in their later years.
“Breast milk is a foundation for life. By denying your child breast milk, you are denying them nutrients,” said Opendi.