By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
States controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have proposed to implement six months maternity leave as well as exclusive breastfeeding in a move to promote a framework for promoting child nutrition.
The proposal was contained in a communique issued Thursday in Abuja at the end of a virtual meeting of Secretaries to State Governments of APC-controlled states held under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).
The meeting which had as its theme, ‘Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Maternal & Child Nutrition Promotion in APC States’, had the overarching objective of identifying salient and common initiatives of Maternal and Child Nutrition that can be replicated across all the APC-controlled States.
Co-Chairman of PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee, governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state declared the meeting open, while governor Mohammed Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa state, declared it close.
In the communique signed by Alhaji Adamu Fanini and Prof. Danladi Atu, SSGs of Jigawa and Plateau states respectively, participants said “in view of the importance of parental support for children at birth and the health of the nursing parents, the meeting recommended that APC controlled states should prioritise implementation of 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for women.
“The meeting observed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the growth and general health of a child and therefore recommended that APC controlled states should encourage and support women to practice six months exclusive breastfeeding for children from birth.”
The meeting equally noted the importance of information and how it affects the attitudes of citizens towards issues of nutrition. It therefore urged APC-controlled states to design a special communication strategy to raise public awareness on malnutrition and its consequences.
“The meeting observed that there is no institutional framework for the implementation of programmes on food and nutrition in some states and therefore resolved that APC controlled states should set up State Committees on Food and Nutrition to relate with all FG programmes on Food and Nutrition and coordinate PGF’s implementation framework on child Nutrition in APC controlled state.
“The meeting equally encouraged each APC controlled state to continually give Status Report on what currently obtains in their state with a view to creating a template that reflects the current status of each APC state on Child Nutrition and each SGS should nominate the focal person for their state to relate with the PGF Secretariat on the implementation”, the communique stated further.
The meeting also adopted the PGF Secretariat’s proposal for follow up meetings with Commissioners of Health, Education and Agriculture of APC controlled States in order to develop sectoral work plans for the implementation of the approved framework on “Promoting Child Nutrition in APC states, Challenges and Opportunities for Action.”
The meeting held following the Progressive Governors’ approval of the framework which was recommended by the 9th Meeting of Secretaries to Governments of APC Controlled States held in April 2020.
The meeting had reviewed the current status of child and maternal nutrition in APC states and considered implementation proposal by the PGF Secretariat.
Participants therefore agreed to continually share information, ideas and knowledge through its quarterly meetings and the PGF Secretariat to promote synergy across member-States and facilitate greater cooperation for uniform or common policy initiatives geared towards sustainable development.