UNICEF in Action
A health worker assists Rigoberto Gua, an indigenous Mayan man, as he puts his thumbprint on birth registration papers for his newborn son, Sebastian, outside the maternity ward at Cobán Hospital in the city of Cobán. - © UNICEF/NYHQ2012-2269/Markisz
Birth registration is a fundamental step towards good governance and a vital element in the fostering of democratic processes.
Not only does the process of registration allow effective administration and bring children to the notice of decision-makers, it is the official and positive recognition of a new member of society, who is entitled to all the rights and responsibilities of a valued citizen.
With UNICEF's support, governments in 85 countries are demonstrating their commitment to registering every child born within their borders. Together, we're bridging the gap between these children and the right enjoyed by so many of their peers.
In 2011, UNICEF programs supported the registration of almost 23 million children.
§ Gambian health clinics are now integrating birth registration into maternal and child health programmes.
§ Technology is helping us move towards a computerised birth registration system in Colombia, Ghana and Thailand.
§ Uganda is using SMS technology to reach children in remote areas and those not born in hospitals. Nigeria is also using SMS technology, and has collected data for over seven million births. In Malaysia, UNICEF is working with both civil society and the government to achieve universal birth registration.