Gombe State Government supports extension of maternity leave to six months

Management of the Gombe State Ministry of Health led by the commissioner, Dr. Habu Dahiru and members of CS-SUNN shortly after the advocacy visit.

Williams Ago, Gombe
Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, has expressed the government's willingness to extend the maternity leave for mothers from three to six months. 

This commitment was made during an advocacy visit by members of the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) to the commissioner's office, where they emphasized the need for the extension. Dr. Dahiru's statement reflects the government's support for the initiative, which aims to improve the health and well-being of mothers and their newborns. 

The extension of maternity leave is expected to have a positive impact on the overall health and nutrition of mothers and their children, particularly in the critical period following childbirth.

He said, the administration of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that there is improvement in the nutrition status of children in the State.

According to him, if increasing the maternity leave to six months will translate in improving the nutrition status of children, the State Government will follow the right means in achieving that.

He explained that the governor took a very special interest in nutrition status of the State on assumption of office, which prompted the administration to procure RUTF, initiated and funded the production of nutritious baby feeds as well as encouraged complimentary feeding for young children.

He described the the request by CS-SUNN as a very genuine one and also assured that of an increment in the budgetary allocation to nutrition.

He said the State Government is aware of the consequences of severe acute malnutrition as such, he will personally advocate to members of the State House of Assembly on the need for the extension of the maternity leave.

"The issue is very important and it has attracted the attention of the wife of the State Governor, Hajiya Asma'u Inuwa Yahaya, who is not silent about it.

"I'm urging CSO's to do more in creating awareness on the issue of malnutrition in the State," he appealed.

Earlier, the Gombe State coordinator of CS-SUNN, Comfort Mukallo, said they were in the commissioner's office to seek his consideration in extending maternity leave to six months for all women as well as the release of nutrition funds to bolster government's investment in children particularly, those under the age of five.

According to her, extending maternity leave to six months aligns with global best practices, promotes improved maternal mental health, reduce postpartum depression and fostering crucial bonding between mothers and infants.

She also called for the support of the commissioner in ensuring the release of additional funds dedicated to nutrition programmes for children under five years.

Comfort said engagement of stakeholders is also critical adding, "together we can mobilize support from various stakeholders, including health professionals, community leaders, and advocacy groups.

"By fostering collaboration, we amplify our impact and create a unified voice for positive change," she stressed.

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