Breastfeeding allowances will be henceforth referred to as ‘accelerating mother and child health’ program, said the health minister during the Friday press meet.
“We will be stressing on the 1000 days of the child, which would be from the time they are conceived until the child goes to school. Currently, Bhutan has high rates of micronutrient deficiencies and anemia among others. The blueprint of the program has been completed and we are looking to mobilize resources for that,” said Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo.
She added that the irony of the 12th Plan is that the plan has been formulated by the previous government because of which the government cannot do much to reallocate resources in the priority areas they are pursuing.
“It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Ministry of Health to mobilize resources in order to implement the program as early as possible. This program will have a huge bearing on how we bring up our child and empower our future generations. It is a smart investment even if it is costly.”
She said that the ministry has already reached out to the partners to mobilize resources and it is expected that the program will cost around Nu 1.19 bn over a period of five years.
DNT in its manifesto had said that it would introduce allowances for women in rural areas during initial months of childbirth. “Acknowledging the fact that rural women are also engaged in works related to domestic and farms, it would not make sense to deny allowances to those women who deliver babies,” said the manifesto.
The manifesto said that at the moment, maternity leaves for mothers to a newborn in public sectors and DHI companies are paid monthly salaries.
DNT said it will ensure the benefits are extended to all the women who gives birth so that it contributes to childcare as well as mother’s health.