State House promotes breastfeeding at work place, as male staff now enjoy paternity leave

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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja


The State House has now completely implemented the federal government’s policy, which permits male officers to take time off work to bond with and care for a new infant or recently adopted child.


The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, had in a circular dated 25th November, 2022, titled ”Computation of Leave Based on Working Days and Approval of Paternity Leave in the Public Service,” announced that the Paternity Leave was in line with the provisions of the Public Service Rules, 2021 Edition.


According to the circular issued 11 months ago, the Paternity Leave is for serving male officers whose spouse delivers a baby.


“The period of the leave shall be fourteen working days. The leave shall not be more than once in two years, and for a maximum of four children.


“Where the family of a male officer adopts a child under four months old, the officer will similarly enjoy Paternity Leave for a period of fourteen working days.”


Speaking at an event tagged “Baby Show” at the State House Medical Centre, aimed at promoting the health and well-being of infants and mothers through exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding, Maryam Keshinro, a Consultant Paediatrician at the Medical Centre confirmed that the policy on paternity leave is already in effect among federal civil servants at the Presidential Villa.


“We are setting the pace as the apex hospital in the country,” she said.


According to Keshinro, the paternity leave is a significant step towards acknowledging the crucial role fathers play in their children’s lives beginning at an early age and encouraging them to be more actively involved in caregiving responsibilities, offering crucial emotional support, and nurturing their children.


He also added the Paternity Leave also complements existing family friendly initiatives of the government such as providing crèche at work places and six-month maternity leave for working mothers.


“State House Medical Centre was designated a baby-friendly centre in 1997 and a year after in August 1998; the Breastfeeding support group was initiated.


“Since then, the State House Administration has consistently and actively promoted breastfeeding through supporting programmes that relate to breastfeeding of its staff through various courses, workshops, and initiatives, including the establishment of crèche and lactation facilities in the workplace,” the Consultant said.


On the theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, “Make Breastfeeding and Work, Work”, the Head of Nursing Department, State House Medical Centre, Thompson-Olatigbe Taiwo, said nursing mothers in the workplace should be able to work effectively and efficiently while also breastfeeding their baby.


In addition to thanking the government for passing maternity protection legislation, policies, and guidelines for breastfeeding moms, Taiwo also thanked State House administration for setting up a functional creche at the Medical Centre.


The Baby Show was attended by working nursing mothers and outsiders registered at the State House Medical Centre, who sang the Breastfeeding anthem:


“In the office, in the market, everywhere and anywhere, I will breastfeed.”