Firms Tasked on Baby Friendly Workplace to Enhance Productivity
The organised private sector has been urged to embrace baby- friendly initiatives as part of the implementation of family friendly policies.
Stakeholders, who gathered at the unveiling of “toolkit on workplace breastfeeding support programme in Nigeria,” maintained that adopting the initiatives would be mutually benefitting to both employees and employers in the long run.
The programme, being an initiative of Alive & Thrive, in partnership with Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) was held in commemoration of occasion of World Breastfeeding Day, 2022 themed: ‘Step up Breastfeeding-Educate and Support’.
Shedding more light on the initiative at a well-attended programme, Senior Programme Officer Nutrition, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Victor Ajieroh defined family friendly policies as one “that helps to balance and benefit both work and family life that typically provide three types of essential resources needed to parents and caregivers of children, namely -time, resources and services.”
He noted that the policies which required organisations to support mothers to breastfeed their babies while at work to ensure optimal breastfeeding practices, would tackle malnutrition and save cost for both organisations and country at large.
Considering that one- third of under-five Nigeria children are reported chronically malnourished, Ajieroh urged cooperation with the government to adopt the revised baby-friendly initiative guidelines on the workplace
He said, “In 2021, working closely with Alive&Thrive, we launched the guidelines, which expected organisations to provide paid extended maternity and paternity leave, on site or near site lactation rooms/ crèches, protection from discrimination and guaranty of job security while on leave”.
Project Director of Alive&Thrive, Dr Victor Ogbodo asserted that making workplace parent friendly has proven to increase productivity and staff retention, while lowering healthcare cost.
He noted that the programme aimed to strengthen relationship with partners in the private sector towards the success of the initiative.