Mothers who’re entitled to six months maternity leave will not be eligible for breast feeding allowance

The mothers who are entitled for six months maternity leave are not eligible for the breast feeding allowance. The Prime Minister (PM) during the press-meet yesterday said the allowance is targeted for the women who are not entitled for the six months maternity leave.

PM said this is because the mothers entitled for the six months leave for maternity are actually drawing their monthly salary to cover the expenses for the breast feeding. “Our main focus is for economically disadvantaged mothers who cannot afford to be at home to feed the babies for six months. Minimum of six months absolute breastfeeding requirement has huge medical advantage both for the mother and baby from the health point of view.”

“For the mothers who are not able to afford that, they should know the health consequences of the babies which will indirectly impact the national budget anyway,” said the PM, adding that the investment in it is actually taking care of the problem from day one.

He also said the allowance scheme is an answer to the stunting in a country which is at alarming stage in a current scenario. “Once the baby’s health is affected from day one, you cannot regain that.”

PM said although the budget for the allowance is not reflected in the 12th plan budget, the government is finding other means to support the allowance scheme.

However, he said that the mothers should meet the inclusion criteria of having good percent of antenatal check-up, hospital delivery, immunization coverage and monthly visit to the hospital by the mother along with the baby.

“If we can afford, we can give the allowance to all the mother who are not entitled for the six months maternity leave , but we are not able to get 100 percent antenatal check-up attendance, 100 percent hospital delivery and 100 percent immunization coverage and we are not able to get the newborns and mother to the hospital for check-up,” he said. The PM also added that not having such criteria sets an unhealthy trend of giving rise to a disease which is not even good for the government as well as for the family as a whole.

“So those who can qualify for all these, we want the mother and the child to be visiting the  hospital at least once a month to ensure timely checkup, and not the babies should not be brought to the hospital by their caretakers or aunties,” said the PM.

But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be an exception for those who cannot meet the criteria for some social and understandable issues.

He said the main reasons why mothers are not able to do the 100 percent coverage attendance is having no money. “Money can also be given during the antenatal checkups.”

“So are we not getting more value for the money we are spending?” he asked.

“It is one of the health pledges we are very passionate about and if the country is to benefit significantly from the pledges we made, one main is the breast feeding allowance, which can’t be seen but the effect will be seen in ten to twenty years’ time,” he said.

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