WORLD Breastfeeding Week commemorations will focus on educating textile factory workers in the Maseru district on the importance of breastfeeding and lobbying for mother-friendly workplaces.
This was revealed by Ministry of Health Nutritionist, Thithibi Liaho, in an interview with the Sunday Express on Friday. She said the commemorations would be held on Thursday this week in conjunction with the ministries of Labour, Agriculture and Food Security and Trade, among others, under the theme: ‘Breastfeeding and work, let’s make it work’.
World Breastfeeding Week commemorations take place during the first week of August each year in more than 120 countries. The event is now in its 22nd year and seeks to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields tremendous health benefits, provides critical nutrients and protection from deadly diseases.
Ms Liaho said the commemorations were in line with the call by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) for concerted global action to support women to combine work and breastfeeding. According to WABA, whether a woman is working in the formal, non-formal or home setting, it is necessary that she is empowered in claiming her right to breastfeed her baby.
The maternal rights of factory workers in Lesotho, she added, were infringed upon by employers, especially in the industrial sector. Most textile factory workers, Ms Liaho noted, had to grapple with short maternity leave and were also not allowed breastfeeding breaks.
“Textile factory workers are a vulnerable group which lacks information on the importance of breastfeeding,” she said.
“During the commemorations, we will assess, together with the Labour ministry and trade unions, the challenges they face with a view to finding long-term solutions.”
Ms Liaho added the improvement of maternity protection would ensure the survival and wellbeing of the child and mother.