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More than 1.2 million children under five don’t have a national identity in Ghana

ACCRA, 11 December 2013 - Nearly 1.2 million children under five years of age in Ghana are not registered in any official document said UNICEF in a new report, Every Child’s Birth Right: Inequities and trends in birth registration. The report released today on the organisations 67th birthday, collects statistical analysis spanning 161 countries and presents the latest available country data and estimates on birth registration.

“Birth registration is every child’s right, it is the right that gives the child an identity and nationality ” said Susan Namondo Ngongi, UNICEF Ghana Representative, “But, the pattern of birth registration coverage in Ghana shows disparities across diverse issues. Children not registered at birth or without identification documents have challenges accessing education, health care and social security later in life. The chances of improving their lives are slim.”

In Ghana the trend is similar to the average global situation. The situation across West and Central Africa is not any better. Two out of three children on average are not registered at birth and a wide range exists in birth registration rates across the region – Only 4 percent in some countries and 90 percent in others.

Many reasons account for the children whose births are not recorded. They include difficult access to registration centers, socio cultural and economic reasons.

A 2013 UNICEF supported bottleneck analysis in Ghana shed more light on the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey. The analysis shows that unregistered children are not a monolithic group. They live in rural and urban areas and are present in different socioeconomic and sociocultural settings. It also shows that in some hard-to-reach areas, registration rates are not even reaching 20 per cent of children less than five years old.

The analysis was done to better understand the disparities and articulate strategies for overcoming the barriers to reaching all Ghanaian children with birth registration services.

The bottleneck analysis provided the evidence required for the Births and Deaths Registry to tackle the birth registration challenge more strategically. Regional heat maps indicating clearly where children are not being reached with birth registration services is aiding the Birth and Deaths Registry to appropriately target these areas for support. The service is also using mobile registration to bridge the disparity gap

“As we celebrate UNICEF’s birthday today, we can all join hands to take the necessary action to ensure that every Ghanaian child is registered at birth” Susan Namondo Ngongi

UNICEF also released today A Passport to Protection: A guide to birth registration programming, a handbook for those working on birth registration, providing background information, general principles and a guide for programming. 



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