BACK TO SCHOOL, LADIES

Build breastfeeding rooms in schools - taskforce

Hardly any school has a lactation room, most new mums stay home.

In Summary

• The Fatuma Chege taskforce, wants the Education ministry to make lactation facilities standard in all schools, encouraging new mums to return to school.

• The recommendation will be given to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Education Cabinet Secretary in April.

Breastfeeding mothers at Pumwani Hospital grounds during the celebrations of World Breastfeeding Week.
BETTER BABY HEALTH: Breastfeeding mothers at Pumwani Hospital grounds during the celebrations of World Breastfeeding Week.
Image: PATRICK VIDIJA

An education taskforce wants all secondary schools to have a room where teen mums can breastfeed.

That may imply other babycare facilities as well at a time of surging teen and preteen pregnancies.

Hardly any primary or secondary school has a lactation room. Most new mums drop out and stay home. A lactation room could encourage them to return to school by making it easier to take care of their babies.

The proposal is among  recommendations in an audit report assessing the situation in secondary schools in readiness to accommodate junior high under the new curriculum

The Fatuma Chege-led taskforce wants the Education ministry to make lactation facilities standard in all secondary schools.

Chege is an educationist and assistant professor at Kenyatta University, She is chairman of the Education ministry taskforce on implementing the Competency-based Curriculum and education reforms.

The recommendation means all schools and educational institutions would have at least one lactation room and milk storage facilities.

The task force will give its recommendation to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Education CS George George Magoha next month.

The audit commissioned in February aims to establish the capacity and ability of secondary schools to accommodate junior secondary under the new education system. 

The audit looked into the infrastructure, identifying gaps.

The recommendation comes as the National Assembly y considers a bill that, among other things, would make lactation rooms compulsory in offices and buildings in public spaces.

The bill also wants employers compelled to spare mothers 40 minutes every four hours to attend to their children. Violators would be fined as much as Sh10,000 daily.

 

Tthe Breastfeeding Mothers Bill 2019 would apply to property owners, lessors and tenants of a public or private building with a capacity of at least 50 people.

The bill was read for the first time in November last year.

It also obliges both government and private entities to set up baby changing facilities. Non-compliance would cost at least Sh1 million or a year in jail.

(Edited by V. Graham)