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Anglogold Ashanti Provides Baby Center Facility To Lactating Mothers

Whiles efforts have been made to create a more inclusive environment where employees irrespective of their gender are able to contribute meaningfully to improve productivity, there are still obvious gaps in the representation of females in the mining sector.

One of the key challenges women in the mining sector face is balancing their work and providing adequate care for their babies after exhausting their mandatory maternity leave.

Women at AngloGold who form 12% of the workforce have commended management of the company for establishing a baby care center where lactating mothers of the company are provided opportunity to concentrate on their work whiles they provide adequate care for their babies at the facility.

The facility which is situated close to the Obuasi Mine will provide a touching distance for the mothers to provide care for their babies during office recess. The fully insured baby center has CCTV cameras to provide 24-hour security, a reception area, a washing area, 3 care rooms to accommodate not more than 6 babies, a washroom, a waiting area and an eatery.

According to Ofeibia Kwapong, a staff of AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine whose 10-month-old daughter Janelle Mame Efua Yeboah was the first to be admitted into the school said the baby center presents a huge relief to female workers of the Mine who go through the natural phenomenon of giving birth, describing it as a game changer in the quest to empower women in the mining sector.

“It has always been an ordeal task juggling between the demands of the workplace and consistently breastfeeding our babies and providing optimum care for them. This project has come at a period where we have been calling for more women involvement in the mining sector. We can only be thankful to the management of AngloGold Ashanti”.

Olivia Boateng, a nursing mother said the facility is an indication that AngloGold Ashanti cares for new mothers and is ready to support women to combine their responsibilities as mothers and employees of the company.

WHO and UNICEF recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water.

Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night.

According to Meshack Baah, providing breastfeeding mothers and fathers of the Mine opportunity to concentrate on their work whiles taking good care of their babies motivated management of the Mine to establish the facility.

He said aside from the baby care centre, AngloGold Ashanti has instituted several initiatives to create a welcoming and conducive working environment for female employee nursing mothers.

These include specially designed work uniforms and overalls for female employees to ensure their comfort, provision of special uniforms for pregnant staff to ensure their safety and comfort at work as well as provision of free menstrual disposable sanitary pads for emergency use.

“We have also improved maternity leave that includes: 16 weeks of confinement post-birth from the previous 12 weeks, with Nursing mothers with twins or more giving 20 weeks of confinement; a further 4 weeks of unpaid leave may be taken before or after confinement,” he stressed.

The facility which is expected to be run by the AngloGold Ashanti schools will be manned by teachers who have been given training in safety and basic healthcare. Designed to accommodate kids between 4 months to 12 months, the baby care centre provides a safe and nurturing environment for the babies while their mothers are at work.

The Executive Director of AngloGold Ashanti schools Simon Peter Atta Cato commended the management of AngloGold Ashanti for providing a nurturing care centre for nursing mothers in their workforce.

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