Provide flexible working environment for breastfeeding parents — GHS
The National Breastfeeding Awareness Month has been launched with a call for an active legislation that would protect the rights of nursing mothers.
This law would provide a conducive and flexible working environment for breastfeeding mothers and propose appropriate leave terms that would ensure that working mothers practise six months of exclusive breastfeeding for their children.
That would make newborns benefit fully from the needed nutrients from breast milk while helping mothers fulfil their reproductive responsibilities.
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Ghana Health Service (GHS) jointly made the call at the launch of the Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Accra yesterday.
On the theme: “Enabling Breastfeeding: Making A Difference For Working Parents”, the month-long event is aimed at creating awareness of the benefits and the need for six months of exclusive breastfeeding and complementing breastfeeding with other nutritious foods after six months until two years.
It was in partnership with the WHO and UNICEF, among others.
Launching the awareness month, a Deputy Minister of Health, Tina Naa Ayeley Mensah, stated the importance of creating an environment where working parents could provide the best nutrition for their children while pursuing their career aspirations.
That, she said, could be recognised by addressing the challenges parents faced in balancing their professional responsibilities with the needs of their infants.
“It is therefore, our collective responsibility to address these challenges and ensure that every working parent can make breastfeeding choices without hesitation and difficulties”, she said.
To achieve that, Mrs Mensah said the ministry was committed to working with a wide range of stakeholders, including employers, healthcare providers and civil society organisations to achieve the goal of raising awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, dispelling misconceptions and fostering a supportive atmosphere that encouraged breastfeeding mothers to continue their journey confidently.
In an address read on behalf of the Director General of GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, the director of the Family Health Division of GHS, Dr Issah, said it was a fact that women played a dual role of nurturing the workforce of a nation as well as playing their productive roles; however, they were mostly faced with challenges as working parents.
“The art of nurturing the nation's workforce, therefore, becomes a societal responsibility and women must not be left to grope in the dark finding their feet to do this alone,” he said.
He said the GHS had engaged several corporate organisations of which several of them had taken the initiative to create enabling environments to support their breastfeeding staff.
The Chief Executive Officer of FDA, Delese Darko, said the awareness provided a unique opportunity to pool efforts together to promote the health and well-being of infants and young children through breastfeeding as it liaises with GHS and other stakeholders to enforce all aspects of LI1667.