The Lagos State Government has urged employers in the private sector to adopt the six-month maternity leave for female workers in their companies.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Modele Oshunkeyisi, who spoke at a lecture of the Faculty of Public Health, National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria in Lagos, said that the adoption of the policy would allow nursing mothers in their employ to practice exclusive breastfeeding.
According her, evidence shows that children who do not form close relationships with their caregivers are more likely to manifest anti-social behaviours.
Oshunkeyisi said, “Children who are cared for physically, but lack social interaction suffer from deprivation. The effects of maternal deprivation range from acute anxiety, depression, and character instability to crippled capacity for relationships.
“As teenagers and adults, these individuals can be more aggressive and become more prone to depression and other social vices.
“In full realisation of the burden of maternal deprivation on a child’s health and mental health, the Lagos State Government instituted the paid 10-day paternity leave and six-month maternity leave, and we urge stakeholders to encourage these baby-friendly initiatives.”
In her lecture titled, ‘Maternal Deprivation: A Socio-Cultural Pathlogy’, Prof. Adefunke Oyemade, warned that children of working mothers might suffer long term consequences of neglected care if stakeholders did not adopt baby-friendly initiatives.
Oyemade urged employers and multi-national organisations to provide crèches and daycare centres to ease the burden of nursing mothers when they return to work.
She said, “No doubt the problem of child care will increase with many mothers in gainful employment which takes them out of their home, but the challenge can be surmounted with the right strategy.”