Departmental heads in Trans Nzoia County should provide enabling environment for lactating mothers.
County Director of Nutrition Mrs Lydia Kimani give these instructions on Monday at Kitale County Referral Hospital during an awareness forum involving breastfeeding members of staff drawn from various departments.
“Scientific research data reveals about two-thirds of career women who are in productive ages are breastfeeding across the globe, thus the urgent need to ensure favourable working conditions for this group,” stated Mrs Kimani.
Enumerating the importance of breast milk to infants, the nutritionist asked Heads of Departments (HoDs) present at the one day forum to ensure their offices have set aside well-conditioned rooms for lactating staff.
She said mother’s milk content comprise of special nutritional and medicinal values, which besides enabling growth it also boosts the child’s immunity and thus cushioning them against certain ailments.
“In fact proper breastfeeding shields lactating mothers against breast cancer and ovulation related complications,” added Mrs Kimani.
“It is mandatory requirement from the World Health Organization (WHO) and as guided by our Ministry of Health (MoH) infants are purely breastfed for first six months of growth,” she pointed out.
Besides breastfeeding spaces, the official further urged the office heads allocate a minimum of 60 minutes of working time for the breastfeeding staff.
Mrs Kimani outlined some of the basic requirements for breastfeeding rooms that include, electricity and electric breast pump for expressing milk, comfortable chairs and tables and lockable lockers for expressed milk storage.
“Employers are encouraged to provide information, education and communication and related literature that are readily available at Ministry of Health offices countrywide,” said Mrs Kimani
“This will in essence go a long way towards ensuring the mothers are productive at their places of work while at the same time improving health and living standards of their young ones,” remarked Mrs Kimani.
By Maurice Aluda