Better Business Practices for Children

The Better Business Practices for Children program under KEPSA Foundation held a stakeholders forum on Friday 19th May 2017 at Panafric Hotel. The aim of the forum was to bring on board the various stakeholders among them the Government, the Private Sector members and other Development Partners on the importance of raising awareness on the work place support for breastfeeding women.

Speaking during the event, Ms. Gloria Ndekei, the Program’s Technical Advisor shared with the participants on the progress and the impact of the project this far. She noted that 40 companies have been sensitized during the ongoing BBPC sensitization visits out of which 10 have committed to providing the requisite support for breastfeeding women. The project is also on course in the development of the Private Sector guidelines which will guide the employers in the compliance with BBPC components.

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Dr. Wangai, the Head of Legislation and Regulations Division of the Ministry of Health pledged to support in the development of regulations that will support breastfeeding women in the work place. She urged the participants to be supportive of this initiative through securing the tomorrow by securing their today. This would lead to the realization of the various benefits including the improved children IQ, less childhood illnesses which result in reduced absenteeism, reduced medical costs and improved productivity of the female employees at the work places. Ms. Betty Samburu, a MIYCN Program Manager at the Ministry of Health also shared with the participants on The Global Strategy on Maternal Infant and Young Child Feeding in the context of workplace support. She further said that the importance of breastfeeding cannot be underrated as it averts 19% deaths from preventable causes. Evidence form the KDHS surveys done regularly in Kenya have shown decreasing Child Mortality Rates with the improving exclusive breastfeeding rates over time.

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Experiences on best work place support practices for breastfeeding women employees were shared to showcase the importance of this initiative for both the employees and the employer. Ms. Jane, an External Relations Officer at Micronutrient Initiative (an International NGO) shared her experience of benefitting from the six months maternity leave offered by their employer and as well as a private mothers room at their office location for expressing during the working schedule. Philips Kenya through one of the senior researchers, Ms. Mubari, presented a breastfeeding cabinet innovation idea which occupies limited space, is portable and can be customized to employers need.

Emerging from this forum were discussions on how to demystify myths surrounding expression of breastmilk among our communities, how owners of commercial buildings can be engaged to provide communal safe and private lactation room and feasibility of this initiative at the public spaces.

The BBPC project will continue engaging the different stakeholders in advocating for conducive working environments to support breastfeeding.