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UNICEF praises easier birth registration for Nigerians through digitization

UNICEF praises easier birth registration for Nigerians through digitization

There are more parents in Nigeria now taking their children for birth registration as the country trials a digital birth registration system.

Many women in Benue state, one of the states chosen for the pilot, say the digital birth registration process appears easier for them as opposed to the manual system which is time-consuming, according to a UNICEF blog article.

The Nigerian Population Commission (NPC), in collaboration with UNICEF, recently launched a digital birth registration drive as part of efforts to narrow the existing child birth registration gap in the country.

Over 12 million children shall be registered during the pilot which involves about 22 of the country’s 36 states, an NPC official said in May.

On August 10, which was celebrated as the African Day of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), some of the women, including one Rhoda Egbe, took their children to the NPC office in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, to register them.

Mbakasen Imande, a registrar at office, says she has been impressed with the turnout since the digital birth registration began.

“It gives me pleasure to see that the birth of our children is promptly registered. The turnout and uptake is high, mothers bring their children to get them registered and they also collect the certificates,” she is quoted as saying.

Done via a digital app, the parents confirm that the birth registration process is less cumbersome and saves time. They also recognize the importance of registering their children after birth, with some of them saying they don’t want to repeat the mistakes made by their parents in the past.

Nigeria’s federal government announced in May that it had undertaken a project to set up a country-wide digital birth registration system, with some of the funding expected from private sector partners.

More CRVS funding needed in Uganda

Across the continent, a budget advocate for CRVS programs has urged the Ugandan government to make available more funding for the vital exercise

In an OpEd for the Monitor, on the occasion of the 2023 Africa CRVS Day observed on August 10, Moses Talibita lauds the government in Kampala for its efforts in improving CRVS, but notes that the country has to look into the problem of “insufficient funding” which “impedes a robust civil registration system hampering the very progress we hope for.”

He says while Uganda make progress with its national ID program and its system of registration of births and deaths, it does so amid a huge funding deficit to the tune of about 16.9 billion Ugandan shillings (US$4.5 million) as well as other operational bottlenecks.

Talibita urges authorities to use the 2023 Africa CRVS Day theme to engender “actionable change by investing in the very systems that uphold rights and identity.” The theme was “Empowering communities: uniting for stronger civil registration and vital statistics systems.”

The writer also notes that such a big funding deficit also makes it difficult for the country to effectively produce other important ID credentials such as national ID cards and death certificates. He also recommends that the CRVS system be made more inclusive by bringing on board many more grassroots stakeholders.

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