The Mashonaland Central Junior Parliament has called on Government to extend maternity leave from three months to six months in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations.
This follows a report from the National Nutritional Survey of 2018 which revealed that one in every four children under the age of five years are malnourished and have stunt growth.
One of way of preventing this is to ensure that they receive the right nutrition during the first six months in the form of breast milk, which has the best formula for babies. Speaking at the Junior Parliament session held in Bindura recently to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week, which is held between August 1-7 every year, Zimbabwe Civil Society Alliance official Mr Kudakwashe Zombe said as an organisation they supported, promoted and protected breastfeeding of infants and children.
“We fully support the Mashonaland Central Junior Parliamentarians who debated in favour of breastfeeding as the foundation of life and recommended that Government must increase maternity leave from the current three months to six months as recommended by WHO,” he said.
“We support, promote, protect breast feeding of infants and children and we feel that children themselves should be involved in matters that concern them.
Mashonaland Central Junior Parliamentarians also noted that there was need for stakeholders to impart knowledge on the community on the advantages of breastfeeding as compared to other feeding methods, especially young mothers who were in early marriages who fail to breast feed because of lack of knowledge as well as cultural and religious beliefs which hinder breast feeding.
They agreed that when they return to their respective constituencies they would engage their older counterparts in the National Assembly and other stakeholders to find solutions to problems which hinder breastfeeding in their respective areas in order prevent malnourishment among infants and children.