The Ekiti state government has increased the maternity leave period for women in the state Public Service from 12weeks to 16weeks.
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Kola Ajumobi, the move was aimed at encouraging exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of birth.
A statement by the ministry on Monday quoted Ajumobi saying that nursing mothers would, in addition, be granted two hours off duty every day for a period of six months from the date she resumed from maternity leave.
Reiterating the commitment of the Fayose led Government to the reduction of mothers and children’s mortality and morbidity rate to the barest minimum, Ajumobi said the crèche at the state secretariat has also been invigorated to boost bonding between mothers and their children during official working hours without undue hindrance to performance and efficiency at the workplace.
The permanent secretary lamented that the challenge of good nutrition, coupled with the question of poverty, hunger as well as lack of access to economic and political empowerment had hitherto largely contributed to what he described as a double tragedy of high maternal and child mortality.
He, however, noted that the present administration in the state has rolled various palliative packages exclusively for women to empower and guard them from avoidable travails.
Ajumobi listed the measures to include provision of N500million as revolving soft loan to promote small and medium Enterprises driven by women while women farmers would also be supported with various incentives.
According to him, government has also encouraged women’s access to political power while harmful traditional practices to woman’s nutritional and sexual reproductive health such as widowhood rites and inheritance have been criminalized in the state where rapists and wife beaters now face life sentences in jail.