Nigeria: Paternity Leave – 2 in 3 Infants Missing Out On Fatherly Care – – Unicef

 Nigeria: Paternity Leave - 2 in 3 Infants Missing Out On Fatherly Care - - Unicef
 Nigeria: Paternity Leave - 2 in 3 Infants Missing Out On Fatherly Care - - Unicef

Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one year – nearly 90
million – live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by
law to a single day of paid paternity leave, according to a new UNICEF
analysis. As a result, UNICEF has called for investment in
family-friendly policies that support early childhood development
including paid paternity and maternity leave, free pre-primary
education, and paid breastfeeding breaks. In the analysis, UNICEF
noted that 92 countries do not have national policies in place that
ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn
babies, including India and Nigeria – which all have high infant
populations. In comparison, other countries with high infant
populations, including Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, all have national paid paternity leave policies – albeit
offering relatively short-term entitlements. This contrasts with just
eight countries (including the United States) that do not have a
policy on paid maternity leave. The new analysis forms part of
UNICEF’s Super Dads campaign, now in its second year, which aims to
break down barriers preventing fathers from playing an active role in
their young children’s development. The campaign moment celebrated
Father’s Day on 17 June and focused on the importance of love, play,
protection and good nutrition for the healthy development of young
children’s brains
Positive and meaningful interaction with mothers and fathers from the
very beginning, helps to shape children’s brain growth and development
for life, making them healthier and happier, and increasing their
ability to learn.
Evidence suggests that when fathers bond with their babies from the
beginning of life, they are more likely to play a more active role in
their children’s development. Research also suggests that when
children positively interact with their fathers, they have better
psychological health, self-esteem and life-satisfaction in the
long-term. “By implementing national family-friendly policies that
support early childhood development, including paid paternity leave,
the Government can provide parents the time, resources and information
they need to care for their children,” said Mohamed Malick Fall,
Representative of UNICEF Nigeria. “The Government’s recent commitment
to extend maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks indicates to me that the
momentum for family-friendly policies in Nigeria is growing,” Fall
added. “Investments in the provision of support services to caregivers
as well as quality pre-primary education and good nutrition for
children are investments in healthy and productive future Nigerian
generations.” Advances in neuroscience have proven that when children
spend their earliest years – particularly the first 1,000 days from
conception to two years old – in a nurturing, stimulating environment,
new neural connections form at optimal speed. These neural connections
help to determine a child’s cognitive ability, how they learn and
think, their ability to deal with stress, and can even influence how
much they will earn as adults. The Lancet’s Series, Advancing Early
Childhood Development: from Science to Scale, launched in October
2016, revealed nearly 250 million children under five years were at
risk of poor development due to stunting and extreme poverty. The
Series also revealed that programmes promoting nurturing care —
health, nutrition, responsive caregiving, security and safety, and
early learning — can cost as little as 50 cents per capita per year
when combined with existing health services.

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