Birth registration at the clinics brings huge results for children

Community Health worker motivated by results

By Tsitsi Singizi
Three day old daughter, Mariama Adiatu, after they registered her at the Simao Mendes hospital in Bissau, Guinea Bissau
UNICEF/UNI284821/Prinsloo
15 April 2020

Mukwela, Choma, Zambia, 15 October, 2019 - Virginia Moono is a seasoned community health worker.  She is the interface of Mukwela Health Clinic with the community, she has delivered and mobilized communities on many campaigns, but confesses this time, she is motivated by the results of her effort.

Below is her personal account on the twinning Birth Registration to health services.

“Linking birth registration to health services has proved to be a huge success. The programme is seamless, good, organized and has immensely benefited my community.

In these parts, birth certificates used to take at the minimum, 5 years. Parents had to travel to the capital to get a birth certificate. This was costly, took away time from production and in truth parents ended up putting it off.

But things are changing for the better.

 

Virginia Moono, community health worker holding birth certificates at Mukwela Health Clinic, Choma, Zambia
UNICEF/Zambia
Virginia Moono, community health worker holding birth certificates at Mukwela Health Clinic, Choma, Zambia

Here at the clinic, I talk to mothers who come for the neonatal clinic on the importance of birth registration. On a regular Under -5 clinic day, I find from mothers if they have had their children registered, I talk to them on the importance of birth registration.

Sometimes I go to communities that are far away from here. I go for 12km tracking parents and sensitizing them on the importance of birth registration

The results have been a sea change. 

Every week we have been registering children at unbelievable numbers. They come on foot on bicycles and some in scotch -carts from far and wide they are coming.

I have seen that time and again when you bring service to the community they will take advantage of it. 

Parents at Mukwela Health Clinic, some holding birth certificates
UNICEF/Zambia
Parents at Mukwela Health Clinic, Choma, Zambia some holding birth certificates

When the service is good the numbers grow. When the service delivers an unmet need, parents will take them up.

During under 5 clinics, I register the children. When the certificates come from Choma, I notify parents and I am proud to hand them out.

At one point a parent needed the birth certificate and we could deliver this to her within 24hours.  24 hours!! That was unheard of in the past.

The government working with UNICEF has brought birth certificates at our doorsteps and the community is keen.

The birth certificate is a little piece of paper ---I have seen how it opens doors for instance. It is the difference between going to secondary or ending at primary school level. It is the defense against girls in young marriage, it is the gateway to opportunities abroad,” says the seasoned community worker.