Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi has appealed to all relevant ministries and institutions as well as the private sector and civil society organisations to establish a breastfeeding room for their female officials and employees who have babies aged six months to two years.
The minister made the appeal at the formal inauguration of a breastfeeding room at her ministry’s headquarters late last week. The room was built in collaboration with the NGO Helen Keller International (Cambodia) and the Multi-Sectoral Food and Nutrition Security Project (MUSEFO) of Germany’s international development agency GIZ.
She said that the establishment of the breastfeeding rooms aims to ease the burden on female officials and employees who have babies, aiming to make it easier to breastfeed their babies comfortably when they return to work after their maternal leave.
“If possible, all relevant ministries and institutions as well as the private sector and civil society organisations should establish a separate room at their workplaces, and the room must be equipped with the appropriate materials for their female officials and employees who have babies aged six months to two years,” she said.
Studies have indicated that breastfeeding contributes to a reduction in the mortality rate of mothers and babies. Breastfeeding also helps babies with improve their general health and their intelligence and it improves the nutritional status for infants.
Hou Kroeun, director of the NGO Helen Keller International in Cambodia, said that breastfeeding rooms were established in 28 places, including factories, state-run institutions and organisations in Phnom Penh and Kandal, Kampot and Kampong Thom provinces.
The purpose of the rooms was to follow through on the Cambodian government’s commitment to increase the rate of inclusive breastfeeding for babies aged zero to six months by 85 per cent by 2030.
“Over 20,000 would benefit from the breastfeeding project. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs is one of the 28 places we chose to implement this project,” he added.
Scientific studies in a number of countries around the world have found that the projects to improve the nutrition and care of infants and children in factories, enterprises and workplaces had benefited both institutions and employees.
“That benefit helps reduce the cost of health care for mothers and babies, reduce staff absentees, increase work productivity, make a better work environment. The rate of female staff working for a long time is high. Staff is committed to working and help reduce the costs of recruiting and training new staff,” he said.