CEFROHT advocates for breastfeeding as a right to babies/children and women. Breastmilk is the first food for children and the failure to breastfeed is a violation of the right to adequate food which is a generational threat. Although breastfeeding and breastmilk is a “lifeline” food to babies and a preventative measure to many diseases for mothers, 57.2% of children in Uganda between 0-6 months are not exclusively breastfed an indicator of the high rates of undernutrition which accounts to 45% of all child deaths annually according to UNICEF. This falls far short of the 2030 Global target of 70 percent.
Breastfeeding is a universally recognized component of a child’s right to life, the right to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and adequate food as it contains. The WHO and UNICEF recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and an introduction of nutritionally- adequate and safe complementary foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding of up to 2 years of age or beyond. Uganda’s legal framework however, is not explicit on exclusive breastfeeding in both formal and informal workplaces. The Employment Act under Section 56 provides for only 60 working days as maternity leave. However, the Act is silent on the extra 3 months on how the mother will exclusively breastfeed while at work. As a result, many working mothers are at risk of stopping exclusive feeding at the end of to achieve the 6 months exclusive period. This leaves many children malnourished and unable to realize their potential for the future. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that nutrition plays a critical role in human resource development since deficiencies in essential nutrients lead to malnutrition, which affects an individual’s mental and physical state, resulting in poor health and poor work performance.