Thanks to the New Bill, mothers can comfortably juggle between work and breastfeeding

Breastfeeding statue 1Breastfeeding has both short-term and long-term nutritional benefits for children. Nutrition is central to sustainable development because good nutrition in the first 1000 days of a child’s life is critical for child growth, well being and survival, and future productivity.
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for children until they are six months old and continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary feedings until children are two, for optimal growth and development.
In as much as a mother would want to exclusively breastfeed her baby for 6 months and at the same time work to earn a living, juggling between the two presents challenges. But Finally, our Members of Parliament have approved a bill to have employers provide breastfeeding stations for working mothers. Yeeeeeeeeey!!!!!

Breastfeeding
Read on the below article as written by Wilfred Ayaga and published by the Standard Digital……Let’s do the happy dance for this good news!

Kenyan MPs approve bill to have employers provide breastfeeding stations: By Wilfred Ayaga

Working mothers will be now be able to juggle between work and breastfeeding. MPs approved a historic provision on Tuesday that will make it mandatory for employers to provide breastfeeding stations for nursing mothers in the workplace. In another win for women, after Parliament passed the Matrimonial Property and Sexual Offences bills, MPs also approved the breastfeeding clause in the Health Bill, 2015. The bill had been sponsored by the National Assembly Health Committee chaired by Rachel Nyamai (Kitui South). Under the provision, employers will be required to set up the stations with all the necessary facilities, including electric outlets for breast pumps, refrigerators and appropriate cooling facilities within the office premises.

The employers will also be compelled to provide ‘comfortable’ seats for mothers to ensure the breastfeeding experience is as relaxed as possible. “All employers shall in the workplace establish lactation stations, which shall be adequately provided with necessary equipment and facilities….,” reads the new clause in the bill, which also compels employers to allow nursing mothers breaks to breastfeed their babies during working hours. “An employer shall grant all nursing employees break intervals in addition to the regular times off for meals to breastfeed or express milk,” adds the clause. The breastfeeding period must not exceed one hour for every eight working hours, the clause specifies. Although some companies are already providing breastfeeding facilities, it is the first time such a provision will be written into law. The effect of the clause, according to MPs, is to allow mothers to bring up healthy babies by allowing them greater periods to breastfeed. Lack of such facilities has meant that mothers leave their children at home and only breastfeed them after work. Most mothers opt to reduce the breastfeeding period for their babies, in what health experts warn places the health of their babies at risk.

“This provision will really help mothers. We have had a rough time leaving young babies at home,” said Rachel Amollo (Kakamega). “I support this clause because it allows mothers to feed their children on breast milk for as long a possible,” added Susan Chebet (Elgeyo Marakwet) The bill is expected to be forwarded to the President for assent. “This is one of the landmark bills that this house has passed,” said the chair of the House Public Accounts committee, Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda)

Access to clean water is a powerful tool in improving maternal and children health

Today is World Water Day. As a maternal and children health advocate, I relate everything to maternal health by default. Pregnancy aside, water plays an important role in a variety of body functions. It helps nutrients reach your cells, aids in digestion, removes toxins from your body, even regulates your body temperature—water is not only necessary but very vital.

Water 1
World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then.

pregnant rubella
The famous statement that ‘water is life’ is not by accident because yes, water is life and life starts at conception. Typically, our bodies are composed of water. This composition goes up during pregnancy because of blood volume- blood is composed mostly of water. Increased blood volume carries nutrients to developing baby and then whisks waste out. Your body will naturally retain more fluid to adequately supply your blood—and as your baby grows, to replenish the amniotic fluid.

As a maternal and children health advocate, I often go to the field to experience firsthand the state of maternal health in the country. I remember vividly my visit to Mwingi , a town approximately 200km east of Nairobi. In remote villages in Mwingi, water is a very rare commodity which is searched by the old, the young, the very pregnant and the not very pregnant alike. The lucky ones have donkeys to do the carrying but the not so lucky ones carry the jerricans of water on their backs.

Mwingi

A village in Mwingi- Photo courtesy of Brian Inganga

The search for clean water in most parts of the country often exacts a heavy toll on the lives of women and girls who are responsible for gathering it on a daily basis. It takes up to six hours per day to collect sufficient quantities of water to serve a single family, and much of that time is spent walking- don’t even talk about the scorching sun!

Carrying heavy jerricans every day can lead to chronic, significant pain and physical deformities in women’s backs, hips, and necks. Pregnant women are not excused from water collection duties, and the effects of carrying the heavy water often interfere with and complicate childbirth.

Apart from the long distance and heavy jerricans, there is also the problem of dirty water. Cooking with and drinking dirty water expose many families to chronic diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, worms, parasites, dysentery and hepatitis. The leading cause of death in infants is exposure to contaminated water and water-borne diseases.

water 2
Dear Mr. President, Governor, Senator, Member of Parliament, Women Rep, Member of the County Assembly, NGOs, and International Organizations as we mark World Water Day this 2016 , please purpose to provide clean, potable water for our women and children in Kenya for access to clean water is in itself a powerful intervention in improving maternal and children health.

#NiHayoTuKwaSasa!

My #LotsOfSocks affair this World Down Syndrome Day

 

12443110_10208657101082984_65590197_n

Cool and Comfy in my socks

As promised, today I rocked my pink socks, royal blue stilettos and red skirt suit. I walked to the sitting room feeling Christmas tree-ish but positive to start day  and the holy week that will usher in the Easter Season. No sooner had my brother in law, sister and domestic manager saw me, than they burst into laughter. Saying I was happy is an understatement I was extremely elated because I got their attention and therefore an opportunity to sneak in important information about Down syndrome- it was a set-up! I contained myself not to laugh and when they signed off their hearty laughter I gave them some early morning awareness on Down syndrome. I left for work feeling accomplished whistling “As for me and my house, we will know and create awareness about Down syndrome”

The following is the focal point of my awareness creation which I am doing around the office and on the streets of Nairobi for anyone who cares to listen (I still have my socks on by the way and I love the astonishment in people’s eyes):

  • 21st March of every year is the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). This year marks its 11th
  • Down syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically.
  • Normally, at the time of conception a baby inherits genetic information from its parents in the form of 46 chromosomes: 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. In most cases of Down syndrome, a child gets an extra chromosome 21 — for a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46. It’s this extra genetic material that causes the physical features and developmental delays associated with DS.
  • Down syndrome, the most commonly identified cause of mental disability occurs in about 1 in 700 births.
  • Some common physical signs of Down syndrome include:

 Flat face with an upward slant to the eye, short neck, and short ears
 Stubby and short fingers
 Slanted eyes with an epicanthic fold
 Poor muscle tone
 Small hands and feet
 They are shorter than average height of their age mates

MIMI POA

  • Down syndrome is not a degenerative disorder. It cannot be cured. It is a life-long condition that benefits tremendously from early intervention programs to maximise the potential of persons living with Down syndrome. Medical conditions such as heart defects can be corrected through heart surgery and medication. Low muscle tone can be toned and improved through physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Speech challenges can be improved through speech therapy.
  • In many important ways, children who have Down syndrome are very much the same as other children. They have the same moods and emotions, and they like to learn new things, to play and enjoy life. You can help your child by providing as many chances as possible for him or her to do these things. Read to your child and play with him or her, just as you would any other child. Help your child to have positive experiences with new people and places.
  • Each child with Down syndrome has his or her own talents and unique capacities, and as a parent or a teacher, it’s important to recognize these and reinforce them.
  • Many kids with Down syndrome go to school and enjoy many of the same activities as other kids their age. Many also transition to semi-independent living and are able to hold jobs, thus finding their own success in the community.

I take this opportunity to thank my all time friend Mchikirwa Ndelejai for joining me in this…one love dear. You are doing great in Taita Taveta County. Let’s join hands and advocate for maternal and children health because a population with healthy mothers and children and safe environments are important pre-conditions for a sustainable future.

 

MCHIKI

Mchiki in her socks

12721961_10208657100722975_1087865943_n

My brother in-law laughed but he joined the campaign too

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

#WDSD16

#My FriendsMyCommunity

#LotsOfSocks

Wear Lots of socks to mark the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD)

 

wdsd logo

21st March of every year is  the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) and this years marks the 11th anniversary of the day.

Down syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically.

Did you know that Down Syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, the British doctor who first described the condition in 1887? It wasn’t until 1959, however, that an extra chromosome was identified as the cause!

This year’s theme is “My Friends, My Community”

Down Syndrome International invites everyone across the world to wear LOTS OF SOCKS on 21 March 2016 to raise awareness on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD).

On this day, whether you are at home, at work, in school, playing, traveling, on holiday, name it- you are asked to wear not just any socks, but brightly coloured socks, long socks, printed socks, 1 sock… even 3 socks for 3 chromosomes. If you don’t normally wear socks, then wear them. The choice on which socks to wear is yours but you should wear something which people will ask you about so that you can tell them all about WDSD.

socks

I know 21st March is like 4 days away but am posting this today to give you time to get your socks ready for our Monday date.

I will wear my funny coloured socks with stilettos……who wants to join me in this?

 

Follow me on Twitter

Follow me on Twitter