WHO calls for guaranteed maternity leave

TO mark World Breastfeeding Week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that governments guarantee paid maternity leave of at least four months to promote and facilitate breastfeeding.

The WHO expressed concern over the lack of protection for breastfeeding working women who are recommended to breast feed babies for the first six months.

As well as entitlement to at least four months of maternity leave, the WHO is calling on companies to provide a private area for mothers to be able to express milk during work time and to put in place programmes to prevent discrimination against women and working mothers.  

It is estimated that only a third of babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months, but studies have shown that breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients needed by the child and better protects from infections.

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