|© UNICEF video|
|Maryam Dehghani brings her 20-day-old baby to be registered at the mobile unit visiting her village.|
HORMOZGAN, Iran, 17 May 2006 – Hormozgan Province in the south of Iran is one of the most deprived in the country. In the rural areas, people work either as subsistence farmers or as manual labourers. Many villages lie far from the nearest town, set deep into the mountains, with little access to social services, including birth registration.
“I rarely go to the nearest town because there are very few cars that go there, says Maryam Dehghani, a 29-year-old mother of two, as she breastfeeds her newborn child. “It’s so far away and we don’t have the money to pay for a taxi.”
So, 20 days after the birth of baby Anahita, birth registration officials have come to her instead. Over the last few months, Iran has been sending in mobile teams, supported by UNICEF, to help parents like Maryam register the births of their children.
“Birth registration is important because it is a fundamental factor in the realization of other rights like access to immunization, access to health care and access to education,” says UNICEF Assistant Project Officer Negar Bayat. “It is also important when governments want to protect their children from underage marriages and underage recruitment and military service.”
|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF-supported mobile birth-registration unit in Iran completes registration forms for newborns.|
“The mobile birth-registration project has been very useful,” says the head of birth registration in Hormozgan Province, Mahmoud Alipour. “Now most of the births in this province are registered within the 15-day deadline. In the past they would wait much longer.”
In some cases, births go unregistered because couples have religiously but not officially registered their marriage. In this situation, Iranian law states that birth registration cannot go ahead unless both parents are present when registering the child. The mobile teams act as advisers and try to sort out legal problems that prevent registration.
Even in the most remote villages, most Iranians understand the value of birth registration. Now, with the arrival of the mobile teams, they are ensuring the most basic rights for their children.