• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Over 50% of births in Nigeria unregistered

Over 50% of births in Nigeria unregistered

More than 50 percent of births of children under five remain unregistered in Nigeria and consequently reduces their chances of accessing basic services such as health and education, the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

The UN agency also disclosed that Nigeria alone accounts for 11 percent of unregistered children in West Africa, with only 43 percent of births registered.

UNICEF in a statement on Tuesday explained that birth registration is a one-off event that gives every child a unique identity which will give them better access to vital services like health, education, and social protection.

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria country representative reiterated that every child counts, and Nigeria must ensure that every child is counted, so they can best benefit from important services like health and education.

“We need to work together to ensure effective coordination to make this happen. Functional systems that allow for the sharing of data across information management databases that are integrated with other vital services are necessary to push the birth registration rate in Nigeria up, and make sure every child is counted,” he said

Read also: UNICEF advocates for favourable policy for exclusive breastfeeding

“Every child has a right to a name, a nationality, and a legal identity. Working together, we can and must bring Nigeria to meeting its SDG obligation to provide a legal identity for all, including through birth registration”, Hawkins added.

The National Population Commission (NPC) has identified information and communication technology assets to support effective CRVS systems that are integrated with other governmental systems, such as health and identity management. This will ensure the highest standards of data protection and confidentiality of personal data to promote birth registration among civil registration, health, and identity management systems.

The NPC, in partnership with Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) entities, and with support from UNICEF, co-created a Roadmap for Digital Universal Birth Registration in Nigeria.

It lays out a clear vision, delineates the roles of different government agencies, builds the government’s capacity to deliver, formulates an action plan, sets a timetable and milestones, and optimises the cost of the digital birth registration process in the country. All of this is in advance of the implementation deadline of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG Target 16.9 calls for governments, by 2030, to provide legal identity for all, including birth registration. The indicator for the target is the “proportion of children under five years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by age.”

Globally, the births of 166 million children under 5 have never been recorded.

Children on the African continent have the lowest birth registration rate in the world, with only 44 percent of children registered at birth and millions of deaths also go uncounted each year.