13 September 2011 - Uganda Telecom Limited and UNICEF team up to tackle Uganda’s Birth Registration problem
Kampala, September 13th 2011 – Uganda Telecom United (UTL) and UNICEF today announced a partnership to boost Birth Registration in Uganda. The partnership, in support of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), is creating an automated registration system to ensure that all the estimated 1.5 million births in Uganda each year are documented in a timely and accurate manner. Under the current manual, paper-based system, only one in five children under the age of 5 years is registered. This is partly because the URSB offices are located in Kampala, making registration access difficult and very expensive for the majority of Ugandans living outside the capital.
The partnership involves a merging of UTL’s innovative software development with the Registrar General’s vision and knowledge of the industry, as well as UNICEF’s strategic programme management, to create the Birth Registration Automation Project. The automated system, code named MobileVRS (Mobile Vital Record Systems), is being used to gather birth and deaths registration data at community level and also from hospitals. Instead of the traditional paper forms, the information is captured and transmitted by mobile phones – in real time – from the community, and by a web-based application from the hospitals, right into a government server that is centrally located.
“At Uganda Telecom, we have always believed in the importance of ensuring every citizen’s fundamental right to be counted,” said UTL Acting Managing Director, Mr. Donald Nyakiru. “It is for this reason that we agreed to partner with the Registrar General and UNICEF to introduce an automated system that will ensure that every child’s birth in Uganda is registered”.
Birth Registration, according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), is the starting point for the official recognition and protection of every child’s fundamental right to identity and existence.
“Ugandan children whose births are unregistered may miss out on basic services, such as access to education, health services and protection from violence, exploitation and trafficking”, said UNICEF Uganda Country Representative, Dr Sharad Sapra. “Our common goal in this partnership is to increase Birth Registration for children under 5 years by four-fold, from 21 percent today to 80 percent by 2014”.
MobileVRS is currently being tested, with birth registration trials so far completed in two districts, Kiboga and Gulu. In all cases, the testing generated enthusiasm, interest, feedback on functionality, and was well-received as registrars’ embraced use of the new tool.
About Uganda Telecom Limited: Since its establishment in 2000, Uganda Telecom is committed to providing the Ugandan community with sophisticated telecom services. From a telecom company with basic services in the past limited around fixed telephony and telex, we have now grown into Uganda's leading telecom services provider. Today, Uganda Telecom offers a diversified range of telecom services ranging from fixed line, 2G and 3G mobile, Internet, and business solutions, connecting Uganda to all parts of the world.
About UNICEF in Uganda: UNICEF, the world’s leading child rights organization, works in Uganda to help the Government meet its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to keep children Alive, Safe and Learning. UNICEF’s partnerships in Uganda have reached over 7 million people with critical inputs to sustain immunization services, extend primary health care and nutrition, improve family-care practices, ensure HIV/AIDS prevention and control, expand water, sanitation and hygiene, improve primary education, and enable the special protection of children. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information please contact:
UNICEF Uganda: Anne Lydia Sekandi, Partnerships Specialist, Communication Section, firstname.lastname@example.org