Digitalisation improves birth registration in Nigeria
Digital birth registration removes barriers to children's registration, increasing awareness and accessibility.
Rhoda Egbe, a 37-year-old mother of 5 children was seen making frantic efforts to ensure her 4 months old son is registered and certified at Federal Medical Centre National Population Commission (NPC) registration centre Makurdi.
My parents did not register me at birth because they did not understand the importance”, said Egbe. She was one of the numerous mothers who turned up for the ongoing mass birth registration and certification drive, using the digitalized application in Makurdi.
Though my mother remembers the day I was born but there is no certificate to show of it” Egbe said sadly.
“Birth registration is important because it helps our children in so many ways. When they want to go to school you need to show the Birth Certificate to register them in school, all my children were duly registered immediately after birth, I have not experienced any challenges while registering the birth of my children”, she said.
Africa’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Day is a special day to celebrate the recognition of the legal identity from birth to death of all persons. It underscores the significance of people’s, right to recognition under the law, the right to participate in society and the economy, and the right to access social services.
With Nigeria lagging, with low birth registration rates for children 0-59 months, UNICEF and its partner, National Population Commission (NPC) recently launched the digitalized process of birth registration and certification, to overcome most barriers to registration of children at birth.
In Benue state, one of the states selected for Nigeria’s birth registration scale-up intervention, concerted efforts are on to raise the low coverage rates for birth registration and certification through community drive and social behavior interventions supported by UNICEF.
Mbakasen Imande, NPC’s registerer in Makurdi says “It gives me pleasure to see that the birth of our children is promptly registered.
“The turn out and uptake is high, mothers bring their children to get them registered and they also collect the certificates”, Imande said.
The process of birth registration through digital app has simplified the old registration process. It has eliminated the old cumbersome use of paper and pen to write. Also, it has made birth registration very simple and eliminated double registration because the process is fully integrated.
Rhoda Egbe finds the new digital process stress free and time saving, different from her experience with registering her older children.
The approach to strengthen coverage of birth registration during immunization services has focused primarily on delivering this service in health facilities capturing children who are under one year as soon as they are born, during Maternal Neonatal Child Health Weeks (MNCHWs) and during supplemental immunization activities in the country using digitalized processes.
UNICEF is supporting the efforts of NPC and partners in scaling up birth registration coverage in Nigeria through safe and innovative technology. The programme aims to obtain timely, accurate and permanent records of births in primary health care facilities and communities. It engages the community, to demand birth registration for every child.
African CRVS Day observance every year on the 10th of August, helps to improve public awareness of the importance of making everyone visible in Africa, through universal birth registration and certification.