Wait and watch

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

The Royal Civil Ser­vice Com­mis­sion has amended the pro­vi­sions with re­gard to the ma­ter­nity leave and pa­ter­nity leave be­gin­ning this month. Now all the moth­ers work­ing un­der the civil ser­vice will be pro­vided a paid leave of six months and pa­ter­nity leave for ten days with a view to pro­mote fam­ily val­ues and chil­dren’s wel­fare in line with GNH pol­icy of the coun­try.

While the im­por­tance on breast­feed­ing and he un­der­ly­ing of ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing and the un­der­ly­ing health im­pact to the child and the mother. It has also been mo­ti­vated by the find­ings from the Na­tional Nu­tri­tional Sur­vey (2015), which show that the ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing rate in Bhutan has been found to be only 51.4%. Stud­ies have shown that t he preva­lence of stunt­ing, wast­ing and un­der­weight can be im­proved by pro­mot­ing six months of ex­clu­sive breast­feed­ing, among oth­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion breast­feed­ing is the best source of nour­ish­ment for in­fants and young chil­dren and one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to en­sure child health and sur­vival. Peo­ple who were breast­fed as ba­bies are less likely to be over­weight or obese later in life. They may also be less prone to di­a­betes and per­form bet­ter in in­tel­li­gence tests; but glob­ally only an es­ti­mated 38% of in­fants are ex­clu­sively breast­fed for six months.

Breast milk gives in­fants all the nu­tri­ents they need for healthy de­vel­op­ment. It is safe and con­tains an­ti­bod­ies that help pro­tect in­fants from com­mon child­hood ill­nesses such as di­ar­rhoea and pneu­mo­nia, the two pri­mary causes of child mor­tal­ity world­wide. Breast milk is read­ily avail­able and af­ford­able, which helps to en­sure that in­fants get ad­e­quate nutri­tion.

In ad­di­tion to that and in keep­ing mind that good nutri­tion and care dur­ing the first thou­sand day of the child de­vel­op­ment which is be­tween the pe­riod of women’s preg­nancy and her child se­cond birth­day sets a health foun­da­tion for all the years to come. As such the baby feed­ing break as ex­tended to the time till the baby turns one to two years of age.

In case of teach­ing and med­i­cal pro­fes­sional a mother with the baby up to 2 years may be al­lowed to ex­tend lunch time from 12 noon to 2 PM. The man­age­ment is to en­sure that the ser­vices are not af­fected as a re­sult of such ar­range­ments. But there has been no pro­vi­sions made for the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als car­ry­ing out 12 hours night and keep them­selves awake serv­ing the sick pa­tients.

As pri­vate sec­tor is one of the ma­jor em­ployer of the county and with­out the amend­ment of the rules with re­gard to ma­ter­nity leave , the fe­male em­ploy­ees in the pri­vate sec­tor will have to wait till th­ese leg­is­la­tions comes into force. The wait may bear the same fruit for them too.

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