In a bid to ensure healthy growth of the Nigerian child, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has not only recommended a six-month fully paid maternity leave but has also asked the federal government to consider a four-month paid paternity leave as well.
Speaking at the National Early Childhood Development conference, tagged; “Investing early in Nigerian children”, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Mohammed Fall also recommended two years pre-primary education for children in Nigeria among other stressed necessities at the event.
The event which held in Abuja on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017, aimed at encouraging child development in Nigeria.
Fall said, “Only about 40 per cent of children within the ages of 36 to 59 months are attending an organised early childhood education programme, while more than 31 per cent of children under the age of five are moderately and severely underweight.
“Yet research in the Lancet series 2016 shows that early childhood education programme is a foundation for health, productivity, learning and social cohesion”.
“Nigeria is putting its children at risk of underdevelopment both physically and mentally because critical national policies are not providing an adequate foundation for their growth. “During the first one year of a child’s life, the brain grows rapidly.
“Providing good nutrition, loving care and appropriate play provide solid foundation for child’s learning and eventual contribution to economic and social growth.
“Early Childhood Development includes physical and cognitive support has a strategic place in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS).
“Investing in ECD includes services to support caregivers, quality pre-primary education and good nutrition will help to secure healthy and productive future generations in Nigeria,” Fall said.
“Supporting exclusive breastfeeding, having good ECD policies in place will help to improve the overall health of a child, enable parents and care givers to be more responsive to children’s needs and provide greater safety and security,” he added. The highlight of the conference was the inauguration of UNICEF report on Early Moments Matter for Early Child”, Vanguard reports.