A female teacher at Child Jesus primary school in Moroto municipality is in trouble for breastfeeding her three- months- old baby at school. Agnes Nate was given a two week’s suspension by the head teacher, Sr. Rosario John Masawe last week.
Her suspension follows a resolution by the school management on February 11, 2017 deterring breastfeeding mothers from keeping their babies at school. According to information obtained from the school, management asked breastfeeding teachers not to bring their babies into the school compound.
Some of the teachers say although management bars them from breastfeeding their children at school, it doesn’t allow them to dash back home and breastfeed them children during break time. A breastfeeding a teacher at the School told URN on condition of anonymity that she is contemplating weaning her seven-month- old baby so as to cope with the new regulations.
She expresses fear for the life of her son, who she says is sickly since he doesn’t breastfeed regularly because of the new school regulation. Another teacher on maternity leave also told URN on condition of anonymity that she is considering quitting her job after learning about the new school policy. She feels the new changes are cruel to her one and half month old baby.
Sr. Rosario John Masawe, the head teacher Child Jesus Primary school, says management arrived at such a decision following an inspection report by health experts, which revealed that the school was vulnerable to infections due to poor hygiene and sanitation from the baby attendants. She however, says mothers can check on their children at home with permission from the school administration.
Samuel Ewangu, the Chairperson Uganda National Teacher’s Union Moroto Central branch, says they are investigating the case and will come up with recommendations after consulting with their top bosses in the region.
Ewangu says such harsh rules from the administration affect the teacher’s concentration in class, which in turn affects performance.
Emma Longoria, the Moroto Labor Officer has condemned the suspension of the teacher and promised to follow up the matter.
The Uganda Policy guidelines on infant and young children feeding 2007, provides the framework for enhancing the nutrition, health, growth and development of infants and young children, as well as strengthening care and support for their parents/caretakers to achieve optimal infant and young child feeding.
Its notes that breastfeeding is a traditional practice in Uganda and the majority of mothers initiate and maintain breastfeeding for long periods. “Under normal circumstances, an infant should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life,” reads the guideline.