Give breastfeeding women adequate leave

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The Zambia Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition (CSO-SUN), says the government is embarking on promoting exclusive breastfeeding meanwhile they are failing to give breastfeeding women adequate leave.

In line with the Scaling Up Nutrition program that the Zambian government is implementing where exclusive breastfeeding is a priority intervention for implementation, the 90 days maternity leave in Zambia is not adequate in allowing women to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of a child’s life. The government must enact laws on maternity leave that support not partial, but exclusive breastfeeding.

Absence of exclusive breastfeeding may lead to undernutrition (height-for-weight), which causes more than one third of deaths of children under 5. Many of these deaths occur in the first year of life and are associated with inappropriate breastfeeding practices. When children do not get appropriate and adequate nutrients in the first 1000 days, the critical period for growth and cognitive development, they are likely guaranteed a poor future. As part of the First 1000 most critical days programme in Zambia, breastfeeding promotion is one of many high impact interventions aimed at reducing stunting.

This was said to commemorate this year’s World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) which is celebrated from the 1st to the 7th of August each year, since 1982. This year’s theme: “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work” calls for a collective effort in highlighting the importance of support for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.

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