Adoption a joint ordinance on interoperability between civil registry services and health facilities
UNICEF intends to support the implementation of this new ordinance, which will make a major contribution to increasing the national birth registration rate.
Although Burundi has made remarkable progress around birth registration, with a rate of 84% for children under the age of five, many Burundian children born in health facilities are not registered with the civil registry.
According to the Director General of Territorial Administration, Civic Education and Local Authorities, Mr. Nahimana Valentin, the increase in the birth registration rate in Burundi has been particularly motivated by certain measures taken by the government, such as free schooling and health care for children under 5. But he laments, "thousands of children still need support to register their births, with many disparities between regions". The reasons for this include parental neglect, ignorance of the existence of civil registry services, and long distances to civil registry offices, etc.
For the government of Burundi, the new joint ordinance on the interoperability of civil registry services and health facilities remains an opportunity to increase the national birth registration rate.
This order complements another joint ministerial order from the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Public Health, which introduced a mother and child health record, with a space reserved for civil status. This enabled the child to be fully identified, making it easier to register him or her. However, the difficulty of registering all the births that took place in health facilities with the civil registry remained a reality, as most health facilities are located far from the offices of the civil registry services. This new order will remedy this situation, as health facilities will now serve as secondary birth registration centers.
In her opening speech at workshop dedicated to the adoption and popularization of this ordinance, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Ms. Calinie Mbarushimana, underlined the importance the ministry attaches to issues of civil status registration: "The ministry recognizes that issues of civil status registration are a key factor in the country's economic and social development, and directs all development efforts towards improving people's living conditions," she said.
UNICEF’s representative in Burundi, Mme France Bégin, reaffirmed UNICEF's commitment to working hand in hand with the government to implement this interoperability. "We are fully committed, both technically and financially, alongside the ministries involved," she said. UNICEF intends to support a pilot project to implement this joint order on interoperability in Kirundo province, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and the Stamm Foundation.
"We appreciate the effectiveness of UNICEF's multifaceted support in strengthening the civil registration system, with a focus on child protection," adds the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Ms Calinie Mbarushimana.
Among the measures advocated by UNICEF to protect all children, from birth, is that of issuing a birth certificate to every child from birth. In line with the MDGs, UNICEF intends to keep the promise of universal birth registration and guarantee a legal identity for every child by 2030.