Int Breastfeed J 2019 25;14:27. Epub 2019 Jun 25.
Alive & Thrive, Southeast Asia, 7F, Opera Business Center, 60 Ly Thai To Street, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Background: Almost half of all Indonesian children under 6 months of age were not exclusive breastfed in 2017. Optimizing maternity protection programs may result in increased breastfeeding rates. This study aims to: estimate the potential cost implications of optimizing the current paid maternity protection program, estimate budgets needed to increase coverage of lactation rooms in mid and large firms, and explore challenges in its implementation in Indonesia.
Methods: The potential cost implication of the current and increased maternity leave length (three and 6 months) as well as the potential budget impact to the government were estimated for 2020 to 2030. The cost of setting up lactation rooms in formal sector companies was estimated using the Alive & Thrive standards. Interviews were conducted in five different provinces to 29 respondents in 2016 to identify current and potential challenges in implementing both existing and improved maternity protection policies.
Results: The costs of expanding paid maternity leave from three to 6 months and incorporating standardized lactation rooms in 80% of medium and large size firms in Indonesia was estimated at US$1.0 billion (US$616.4/mother per year) from 2020 to 2030, covering roughly 1.7 million females. The cost of setting up a basic lactation room in 80% of medium and large companies may reach US$18.1 million over 10 years. The three main barriers to increasing breastfeeding rates were: breastmilk substitutes marketing practices, the lack of lactation rooms in workplaces, and local customs that may hamper breastfeeding according to recommendations.
Conclusions: The cost of expanding paid maternity leave is lower than the potential cost savings of US$ 1.5 billion from decreased child mortality and morbidity, maternal cancer rates and cognitive loss. Sharing the cost of paid maternity leave between government and the private sector may provide a feasible economic solution. The main barriers to increasing breastfeeding need to be overcome to reap the benefits of recommended breastfeeding practices.