The birth certificate, a key to life in Gabon
We often think of birth certificate as a simple paper, but Joseph’s story shows the opposite concerning the importance of this piece of paper
This September 24th, 2021 is a special day for little Joseph, because he was born a second time. Indeed, this 10-year-old child, received his birth certificate as well as his health insurance card (CNAMGS). A document that will certainly open him the door to everywhere and give him access to fundamental rights, and thus allow him to have access to the mechanisms of social protection set up by the Gabonese state.
Joseph, a 5th year student at Gamba Public Primary School, will be able to start his school year in peace. His mother, who comes from the region of Tchibanga, Chief Town of the province of Nyanga, who had come to accompany him, was thrilled and so happy, and did not fail to express her distress about not having been able to give her son, such a precious document for his life when he was just born: ‘The day I gave birth to Joseph, I could not afford the delivery which cost 45,000 CFA. This prevented me from getting the birth certificate and going to city hall to declare the child because I had no money. I felt unhappy at the time for not being able to do that. So, today is a very special day both for me and my son, now that he is officially and legally recognised’, explains Mireille Iboumdi with a very emotional voice.
In Gabon, numerous children remain ‘non-declared’ when they born, because of diverse reasons.
Joseph is part of the 1.200 persons who benefited from a birth certificate in the Tchibanga region, thanks to the ‘Government Programme for Citizenship and Social Protection’, which aims to extend social protection to everyone. People who cannot access it struggle to register in a school and to have access to the CNAMGS (health insurance card).
This programme, which should benefit around 1,000 families per region, is being implemented by the services of several ministerial departments and is supported by UNICEF under the SDG Programme and the United Nations System.