10 August was Africa’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) Day, an annual marker of the importance of ensuring legal identity for all persons from birth until death to enable equitable participation in society.
In a special post, Unicef highlighted one mother’s account of registering her children’s births, who said: “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”.
However, with a low registration rate for children aged 0-59 months, Nigeria still lacks resources to make birth registration a first-world human right for all citizens. Previously, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the National Population Commission (NPC), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) teamed up, signing a MoU agreement, to solidify their commitment to develop a digitised Birth Registration system in Nigeria which encompassed 22 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The initiative aims at benefiting at least 12 million children under-5 that are in the primary age range to be acknowledged as legal citizens at birth and issued with a birth certificate.
Cristian Munduate, Nigeria UNICEF representative, said at the time the partnership was announced:
“By integrating birth registration into routine health service delivery, conducting the digitalised birth registration process, and increasing awareness through state and community-level campaigns, we aim to ensure that every child has access to and benefits from the essential health and birth registration interventions they deserve.”
As we digitalise healthcare and government, the quality of patient care which includes birth registration will be enhanced throughout a person’s lifetime.
Through digital apps, eliminating the need for paper, an uptake of mothers bringing their children to be registered and collect their birth certificates has been recorded, simplifying a fully integrated process for registrations and immunisation services.