Women Members of County Assembly (MCAs) in Mandera have unanimously agreed to push for a Bill seeking to have a better environment for breastfeeding mothers at places of work.
The Bill introduced by Ms Sokorey Maalim seeks to provide a legal framework in Mandera for mothers to breastfeed their children while at work.
“I am promoting this Bill not because of the current generation but the coming ones at least to find a conducive working environment that allows productivity at their places of work,” said Ms Maalim.
She argued that breastfeeding remains the first preventive health measure that can be given to a child at birth and that it enhances mother-to-infant relationship.
She said the current situation is forcing female employees to resign from work or stop breastfeeding just to secure their jobs.
“This Bill is about ensuring no woman is forced to compromise the health of their infant just for securing their job,” she said.
Ms Maalim seeks to have the female employees in Mandera enjoy the right to freely breastfeed or express one’s milk for the infant.
“The Bill will be undergoing public participation starting next week since we are done with the first reading at the assembly and I am hopeful the public will understand it,” she said.
She urged the public to support the Bill since it is about their mothers, sisters, daughters, wives and children.
“The employer has an obligation to provide better breastfeeding rooms at the place of work for female employees,” she said.
The employer is also obliged to provide infant changing tables, she added.
Mandera County Assembly Speaker Mohamed Khalif told MCAs last month that measures had already been put in place concerning the Bill.
“All is in place at the assembly in relation to employers’ obligation towards breastfeeding working mothers to enhance physical environment and infants’ cognitive abilities,” he said.
According to the Speaker, time taken by female MCAs to go home to breastfeed was derailing performance at the assembly.
“We shall soon be opening the special rooms here to enable our female members and other female staff to come with their infants at work,” he said.
All the 16 female MCAs in Mandera were nominated by political parties.