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|Description||¡ª Dr. Norton Mothers are required to breastfeed their babies for six months, but the legislation for only three months of maternity leave flies in the face of this mandate.This is because mothers only get to breastfeed for three months and sometimes even less, said Public Health Minister, Dr. George Norton.Norton stated that the time has come for babies to be given the ¡®gold standard¡¯ of breastfeeding. He indicated that if Guyana is to talk about breastfeeding for six months, then the discussion should also be about maternity leave for six months. He stated that he knows that this will put a strain on employers but it will be worth it.Last year, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) had called for more employers to support breastfeeding mothers in the Caribbean and Americas. The organization stated that the employers were more than likely to reap benefits for their businesses and their countries¡¯ economies.Norton said maternal and child health care is an important aspect of his ministry and so he will be moving sometime soon to take this issue to cabinet and see if something can be done. He stated that he hopes that six months of maternity leave will become a law during his tenure as Public Health Minster.Woman breastfeeding her babyThe PAHO has highlighted the need to support women in balancing work and family, and especially to breastfeed their babies, according to public health recommendations, which are based on research that establishes health benefits from breastfeeding that range from reduced infections and improved IQ in babies to lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer in mothers.PAHO added that promoting breastfeeding in the workplace increases benefits for employers, including superior employee loyalty to companies as a result of gratitude and satisfaction, and reduced absenteeism because breastfeeding employees¡¯ babies get sick less often and less severely.Thus, PAHO recommended that employers implement policies, including paid maternity leave, paid breaks for breastfeeding, a dedicated room for breastfeeding in the workplace that is private and hygienic, and flexible or reduced working hours for breastfeeding mothers.The World Health Organization (WHO) had advised that governments implement the maternity protection legislation and related measures consistent with the International Labour Organization¡¯s 2000 Maternity Protection Convention, which calls for at least 14 weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers, as well as breastfeeding breaks and facilities in the workplace.Norton, however, indicated that there are little to no baby friendly spaces for feeding in the workplace. He said in order for breastfeeding facilities to be constructed in workplaces, there needs to be a change of culture.¡°We need to be supportive of mothers and more importantly the babies,Nike Shox Women Clearance,¡± he said.¡°Maternal and child health is a priority.¡±In the Americas, only Chile has established the gold standard for breastfeeding by legally requiring six months of paid maternity leave for working mothers, the period of time recommended by PAHO/WHO for babies to be exclusively breastfed.PAHO/WHO¡¯s Senior Advisor in Food and Nutrition, Dr. Chessa Lutter said to date, Chile is the only country in the Americas to legally order this.¡°Many countries have made progress in this area, with legislation and policies that support working mothers to breastfeed,¡± Lutter said. ¡°But a lot needs to be done to ensure implementation and enforcement, and countries that do not yet have such legislation really need to begin working on it.¡±|
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