Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System in Ghana

A Comprehensive Assessment

Beatriz Mensah and her daughter Mamia during intake processing at the offices of Legal Aid in Accra, Ghana on 5 May 2015.


The civil registration system in Ghana has not reached its full potential, in more than 100 years that it has been operational. A well-functioning system of registering births and deaths, and to some extent marriages and divorces, among other vital events, would have provided the necessary foundation for establishing a reliable database of citizens and other individuals. It would also enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the management and delivery of government services, including health and social welfare benefits, to the public. Already, many parallel databases of individual identifications are being operated by various government institutions at great cost to the country, which would have benefited greatly from an efficient civil registration system. Yet, none of these systems are required to use birth registration records, a reflection of the low value placed on the civil registration system. The current national medium-term development

policy framework—the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda 2014-2017 (GSGDA II)—seeks to rectify this anomaly and has set as one of its ten areas of policy intervention “Transparent, Responsive and Accountable Governance”. Among the problems identified are under-development and under-utilization of the civil registration information systems; lack of awareness and noncompliance with civil registration regulations; and gaps in the events registers at all levels. The GSGDA considers the quality and completeness of vital events registration and associated services to be critical for evidence-based decision making.

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System in Ghana
Government of Ghana, UNICEF
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