23 July 2013: The Government of Tanzania launches a new national birth registration system set to massively accelerate the number of children under 5 with birth certificates
Mbeya, 23 July, 2013 – The Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, Honorable Mizengo Kayanda Pinda, launched today the new national birth registration system for under-five children in Tanzania. The event took place in Mbeya, a region in the southwest of Tanzania, bordering Zambia and Malawi. The new national system will be rolled out in phases with Mbeya kick starting the initiative as part of a first phase which will include Mwanza, Geita, Shinyanga, and Simiyu regions.
The new birth registration system marks a significant shift in accelerating birth registration in Tanzania, after years of stagnation.
“We are transforming the system to make it easier for children and families to access their entitlement of a birth certificate,” said Phillip Saliboko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA), responsible for the initiative.
Mr. Saliboko continued to say that, “whereas before there was a 2-step system of birth notification, and birth certification and birth certificates could only be accessed through the District Administrative Secretary, there is now only one step for the certificate and parents can receive their birth certificate from their local health clinic or through the local government system. We are bringing the service to the people rather than them having to travel far to access it.”
The new birth registration system would not have been possible were it not for TIGO’s innovative mobile technology. The mobile application simplifies the process of birth registration by entering the registration information into a mobile phone which sends the data to a central database at RITA in real time. The application is designed to work on all models of mobile phones and operating systems.
TIGO’s Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Woinde Shisael said that, “TIGO is proud to be the sole telecommunication company partnering with RITA and other stakeholders in order to make sure that every child birth in Tanzania does not go unaccounted for.”
The recent Tanzania Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted in 2010 shows that only 16 per cent of children under the age of five have been registered in Tanzania, of whom only 6 per cent had received birth certificates. Registration rates in Tanzania have not improved significantly for over a decade. But in June 2012, the new system, which delegates the authority of issuing birth certificates into the functions of personnel within existing health and local government systems, was tried out in Temeke District, Dar es Salaam, with dramatic results. Within a period of only six weeks more than 15,500 under-five children were registered and issued with birth certificates, representing an average of 514 children registered per day. Overall, there was an increase by 29 per cent of children under-five registered in the 14 pilot wards, jumping from only 15 per cent with birth certificates to 44 per cent.
UNICEF Representative, Jama Gulaid, commended the Government of Tanzania for its commitment to prioritizing child rights.
“We are proud and happy to contribute to an initiative that provides for the most basic of all children’s rights – an official recognition of their existence and nationality. The Prime Minister’s launch today highlights the level of commitment the Government of Tanzania is giving to under-five birth registration. For too long, too many children have gone without the birth certificate that actually provides them with a passport for protection throughout their childhood and beyond, helping them access their basic entitlements. By targeting the newborns and under-fives with the new system, we are working in partnership to turn off the tap of children without birth certificates.”
The first phase of the national roll out to the five regions is being supported by the Canadian Government as part of their overall contribution to the United Nations’ Accountability Commission for Maternal and Child Survival, co-chaired by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the President of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
“Today marks another major step forward in the partnership between the Governments of Canada and Tanzania in addressing child and maternal health,” said the Canadian High Commissioner, Alexandre Lévêque. “Establishing an effective birth and civil registration system is a critical component of our collective efforts under the Accountability Commission. The current average of children under-five with birth certificates is 5.5 per cent. In partnership with RITA, Volunteer Services Overseas (VSO) and UNICEF, we are aiming to increase that by 46 per cent, with nearly 900,000 children under-five receiving birth certificates over the next two years. This would provide a strong platform from which to roll out to the rest of the country for full national coverage,” concluded Mr. Lévêque.
The new system is planned to be operational in Mbeya from 25th July, 2013 and after a period of eight weeks, an intensive roll out will progressively move onto the rest of the five regions over the next two years.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
The Registration Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) is the result of transformation of the Administrator General’s Office into an Executive Agency in 2003. RITA is the custodian of information on key life events of the country on behalf of the Government and also deals with matters of administration of deceased estates, bankruptcy, official receivership and incorporation of trustees to name a few. As seen its roles are unique and important for national development. Visit: www.rita.go.tz or twitter.com/ritatanzania or like us on facebook.com/ritatanzania
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Tigo started operations in 1994 as the first cellular network in Tanzania. It now covers 26 regions in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. Tigo strives to be Tanzania's most innovative mobile phone operator, offering services ranging from affordable mobile voice communications to high speed Internet access and mobile financial services through Tigo Pesa. Tigo is part of Millicom International Cellular S.A (MIC) which provides affordable, widely accessible and readily available cellular telephone services to more than 43 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa and Latin America.
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For further information, please contact:
Georgina Mtenga, UNICEF Tanzania, Tel: +255 22 2196644 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqueline Namfua, UNICEF Tanzania, Tel: +255 787600115 email@example.com
Josephat Kimaro, RITA, Tel: +255 22 2153069 or +255 22 2153067 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadia Hamel, High Commission of Canada in Tanzania, Tel: +255 22 2163306 Nadia.Hamel@international.gc.ca
Patricia McCullagh, High Commission of Canada in Tanzania, +255 22 2163337 Patricia.McCullagh@international.gc.ca