The Woman Member of Parliament-MP for Mbarara City in western Uganda, Hon. Atukwasa Rita Bwahika has rooted for better policies and spaces enabling exclusive and enough breastfeeding period for the mothers and their babies.
Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week form August 1 to August 7 under the theme “Let’s make breastfeeding and work, work”, where health experts and activists called for more interventions to support breastfeeding mothers.
Breastfeeding mothers, leaders and activists in Uganda are still pushing for a policy that increases paid maternity leave from 60 to 120 days, and breastfeeding mothers to be granted six months of exclusive breastfeeding to avoid infections, stunted growth and malnutrition affecting them and newborns.
“The ideal would have been up to 6 months, because when you invest in a child, you invest in the future of any society, the future of a family, the future of a country,” Hon Rita explains.
Hon Rita further suggests that the last three months of the six months could be scheduled in terms of hours, to enable mothers break off from work to attend to their babies. She also calls for establishment of breastfeeding spaces both at private and public workplaces, adapting to technology to store breast milk, and other safer mechanisms.
Globally, United Nations Children’s Fund-UNICEF confirms that 77 million newborns are not breastfed within first hour of life, yet delayed breastfeeding increases risk of newborn deaths by up to 80 per cent.