BY TERENCE EKISEH
One of the founding fathers of the United states, Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Panning is key to any human endeavour as it increases efficiency, reduces risk and facilitates proper coordination of organizations, agencies and governments of nations.
Little wonder developped nations factor-in population growth with keen eyes on death and birth registration when planning annual budget in order to distribute their nations’ common wealth and building facilities to correspond with their growing population.
In sub saharan Africa, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), 95million children never had their birth registered. 120million do not have birth certificates and if this trend continues, there could be close to 115million unregistered children under age 5 by 2030.
In absolute terms, between 2015 and 2050, ten countries in sub Saharan Africa will contribute massively to the region’s population increase and Nigeria will account for 257million additional inhabitants.
In developing nations like Nigeria where population census are marred partly by low birth registration,
some of the possible consequences could be ; blind planning, incapacity to generate relevant public health data and national estimate and population planning, slow economic growth and more worrisome, children whose births are not registered would be denied certain basic rights.
Article 7 of the United Nations Charter on Convention on the Right of the child states clearly that “The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, … and the right to acquire a nationality”
In adherence to this article , demographics show that Northern Nigeria accords the child his full right at birth having the highest record of birth registration rate followed by the Southwest while Southeast and South South are trailing behind.
As at 2013, records from the National Demographics and Health Survey (NDHS) indicate that 70% of children in Nigeria did not have their birth registered. This trend continues especially in the south south and Southeast.
Bayelsa state is adjudged the best in the south south/southeast in terms of birth registration with 70percent success rate. Though the restoration government continues to channel resources in that direction, there is work to be done since child birth registration has immense benefits to both the child, the state and the nation at large.
In addition to other socio economic benefits, birth registration enables a person’s eligibility for healthcare, admission into schools, voting, obtaining a passport, provides legal and documentary evidence to certify a person’s existence, parentage, age, birth place, nationality and more.
Thus birth registration data when correctly collected, plays an important role in the planning of a nation’s sicio-econom development.
However, challenges associated with
low child birth registration range from illitracy, lack of awareness, increased poverty rate, distance to medical facilities, high cost of child birth in our medical facilities, insufficient registration centers, fewer registration personnel to giving birth sometimes at home and in remote villages where births are not documented.
It is against this backdrop that UNICEF in collaboration with state governments is amplifying the call for all stakeholders to intensify efforts at ensuring every child is registered at birth no matter the circumstance and means through which the child came into the world.
Here in Bayelsa state, there are 63 birth registration centers spread across the 8 local government areas with 63 birth registration personnel manning each center.
Birth registration service providers should therefore ensure all unregistered children in focused health centers, households and communities are reached with birth registration services. #radiobayelsa
Parents who are yet to register their children under the age of 5years should avail themselves of the opportunity as birth registration done on daily basis. For a child’s birth certificate is the first gift a parent can give to the child. #radiobayelsa