Workplaces still lack lactation rooms

Kathmandu, October 21

Although existing law has made it mandatory for all public and private organisations to set up breastfeeding rooms, many working women have not been able breastfeed their infants at workplace due to the government’s failure to implement the law.

One can rarely find rooms for breastfeeding at public places like hospitals, schools and offices, among others. Currently Paropakar Women’s Hospital, Kanti Children’s Hospital, Tribhuvan International Airport and few other international non-government organisations have rooms for breastfeeding. Bir Hospital and Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital had once set up such rooms, but they are not in operation now.

The Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Act states that all governmental and non-governmental offices, private firms and organisations should set up separate breastfeeding cells for lactating mothers.

Officials at the Ministry of Health and Population said they had not done anything about implementing the law related to setting up breastfeeding rooms. According to RP Bichha, director of Family Health Division under the Department of Public Health, the division is planning to establish 30 BFRs at various government hospitals in Kathmandu.

“Breastfeeding children up to the age of two is a must as it is a primary source of all nutrients for them. Moreover, breastfeeding is also immensely helpful to maintain hormonal balance of a mother and reduce chances of breast cancer in women,” Dr Karki said.

Nepal was one of the 180 countries to endorse the goals set up by International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, which called for securing women’s right  to breastfeed their babies.