The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has called for the extension of maternity leave from the current three months to five months.
This according to her is in line with provisions of the International Labour Organization’s Maternity Protection Convention which Ghana is a signatory to.
She made the call among some five points she proposed to promote effective and exclusive breastfeeding among mothers.
Per Ghana’s labour law women are entitled to 12 weeks (84 days) of maternity leave with full pay. Some critics have argued that the 12-week period is woefully inadequate.
Speaking at a national launch of the 2017 World Breastfeeding Week in Takoradi, Mrs. Akufo-Addo bemoaned the decline in breastfeeding among nursing mothers.
She was worried that breastfeeding trends show that “we have a long way to go in making sure that all women in this country practice breastfeeding, to provide their children with the benefits and protection needed in their early stages.”
Mrs. Akufo-Addo said there was the “need to improve the current support systems and create conducive environments for women to breastfeed in their workplaces, markets, homes, communities and at social gatherings.”
“Supporting breastfeeding also requires us to remove barriers to breastfeeding wherever the need arise, including those that exist… in work situations and at social gatherings. We call on employers and parliament to extend the period of maternity leave as specified under the International Labour Organization Maternity Protection Convention,” she added.
Meanwhile UNICEF is also raising red flags over breastfeeding culture among mothers in the country noting that steps must be put in place to reverse the declining ratio of breastfeeding children.