The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga yesterday opened a modern breastfeeding facility at Parliament to serve Members and Staff of Parliament.
The facility which is housed in the former Sergeant-At-Arms residence comprises of a play area, kitchen, sleeping area, breastfeeding room and bathroom.
The Clerk to Parliament, Mrs. Jane Kibirige said the Parliament had spent Ushs 90 million to rehabilitate and modify the building in order to qualify as a breastfeeding facility.
She added that the facility is able to accommodate 8 children at the moment.
Kibirige also commended the Speaker for her initiative in erecting the facility.
“The Speaker pushed the President’s office to hand back the building to the Parliament in which the facility is housed and we are grateful for that,” she said.
Commissioner, Hon. William Nokrach said the facility would make it easy for MPs and staff to carry out their duties and at the same time nurture their children.
“A child who is raised in a good environment tends to have great grounding making him more social and constructive to society,” Nokrach said.
In addition, Commissioner Rosemary Sseninde, said the breastfeeding facility was a sign that Parliament was a gender sensitive institution.
“Parliament is the first public institution to offer a breastfeeding facility in the country which puts it at the forefront of the promotion of gender sensitivity,” Hon. Sseninde said.
Hon. Rose Akol, said this was a good start for Parliament as an institution.
“This facility gives Parliament international recognition in terms of gender sensitivity. With time this facility should be expanded to accommodate more babies,” She said.
In her speech, Kadaga said the breastfeeding facility was a big achievement for the Parliament of Uganda and especially for the women parliamentarians.
“South Africa has for a while taken all the praises from the Commonwealth Women Parliamentary Association for having a breastfeeding centre and other gender sensitive initiatives. However, this time round, the Parliament of Uganda will be able to stand out,” She said.
Finally, while giving her vote of thanks to the speaker, Josephine Watera, a Principal Research Officer and one of the first beneficiaries of the facility said she has found so much ease in doing her work and tending to her baby.
“I did not have to take my annual leave to look after my baby because I am able to bring her to the breastfeeding centre and occasionally take breaks from work to breastfeed her. This is a plus for me and gives me peace of mind,” Ms. Watera said.
The breastfeeding facility will be operational from Monday to Friday during working hours and is open to Members of Parliament and staff.