Ms Gifty Ampah, Coordinator of Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Programme at the Ghana Health Service, Head Office, has called for policy makers to provide spaces within buildings so that mothers could practice continuous breastfeeding.
She stated that nursing mothers faced many challenges that inhibited them from breastfeeding their children once they start active work after the stipulated three months’ maternity leave.
Ms Ampah told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tema after undertaking a public sensitization exercise at Tema Markets, that the discussion for six months’ maternity leave was still ongoing, but in the meantime providing structures for women to breastfeed could be done to support women to continue breastfeeding their children.
She explained that people make up the human resource that could help develop a country, therefore the need to ensure that mothers continue to breastfeed their children from zero to two years.
She advocated that policy makers should help bring the issue to the fore for corporate institutions and the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to make available rooms in building such as markets, offices and schools where women could breastfeed.
She said “is there an available space within the markets where nursing mothers could go to as they find time in between to breastfeed their children? So any workplace that women are, there should be room for breastfeeding”.
She noted that breast milk contained the essential nutrients a child needs to grow, the need for women to be supported to practice exclusive breastfeeding for the recommended period.
Ghana launched the, “Start Right, Feed Right” Campaign in 2020 to draw the attention of Ghanaians to the falling rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the country and its attending implications.
The yearlong campaign, targeting mothers, fathers, and everybody who had a responsibility to take care of an infant or young child either by themselves or extension by being a grandparent, advocated for particular attention to be paid to breastfeeding and infant feeding issues.
Ms Ampah revealed that the feeding of children from six to 23 months was not being done as the Ghana Health Service, World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) recommended.
She indicated that it implied that the corps of children were not growing as they should mentally, physically, psychologically and psychosocially, because breastfeeding filled the gap for psychosocial care, psychological, mental and cognitive development.
She however expressed the hope that by the end of the campaign, a number of spaces will be made available for mothers to breastfeed their children and improve the general wellbeing of children.
“Hopefully, at the end of the entire campaign, we will get more breastfeeding spaces within our workplaces, create the necessary awareness and give the necessary support for women to continue breastfeeding, so that our rates that are falling will pick up,” she said.