UNICEF Pushes for Six Months Paid Maternity Leave

UNICEF Pushes for Six Months Paid Maternity Leave to Boost Breastfeeding and Child Survival


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is championing a significant shift in workplace policies to strengthen breastfeeding practices and enhance child welfare. The organization’s call for a six-month paid maternity leave for working nursing mothers stands as a pivotal step in improving infant health and survival rates. As the globe observes World Breastfeeding Week, UNICEF underscores the profound impact of breastfeeding on children’s lives, emphasizing the dire need for family-friendly workplace policies and supportive measures for mothers and caregivers.

Breastfeeding’s Lifesaving Impact: A Critical Imperative

UNICEF’s call to action revolves around recognizing the critical role of breastfeeding in preventing child mortality and ensuring optimal health. Astonishingly, babies who are exclusively breastfed experience a 14-fold reduction in their risk of dying before their first birthday, compared to those not breastfed. With this dire reality in focus, UNICEF advocates for enhanced workplace policies that encourage breastfeeding, including an extended paid maternity leave of six months.

Promoting Family-Friendly Workplace Policies: A Shared Responsibility

The Chief of Field Office at UNICEF Nigeria, Dr. Tushar Rane, underscores the significance of family-friendly workplace policies that can create a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers. The inclusion of paid maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks, and dedicated spaces for breastfeeding are critical components that not only benefit mothers and infants but also yield substantial advantages for employers. UNICEF highlights that such policies extend beyond formal employment to encompass the informal sector and temporary contracts.

Impact on Child Development and Socio-Economic Growth

The significance of breastfeeding extends beyond infant survival. Breastfeeding is a cornerstone for optimal infant feeding and development, contributing to children’s lifelong health and socio-economic potential. Amidst the dire challenges posed by violence and socio-economic instability, prioritizing breastfeeding through robust policies emerges as a means to empower the next generation and strengthen societal resilience.

UNICEF’s call for a comprehensive approach to breastfeeding, including extended maternity leave, comes as Ecuadorian society grapples with escalating violence and the tragic assassination of a presidential candidate. As countries navigate complex challenges, the recognition of breastfeeding’s transformative potential for child survival and socio-economic growth remains a clarion call for collective action and policy reform.

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