The northwest state of Kano state is said to be leading in the ongoing digital childbirth registration, surpassing all other states, a development that is suggesting that the state might maintain it lead as the most populous sub national entity in Nigeria.
The National Population Commission (NPC) document cited indicated that the state has record a total of 933,589 childbirths in the newly introduced digital registration system being conducted in the country.
Ismaila Al-Hassan Dogo, Director of Kano office of the NPC) made the disclosure during a media dialogue on birth registration organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kano.
According to Dogo the child birth registration which is being conducted by NPC with the assistance of UNICEF is taking place in some selected local Government Areas across the country.
“The initiative is aimed at registering approximately one million unregistered children in Kano, all aged between zero and five years, across the state’s 44 local government areas.The essence is that if we can get these children registered, they will be added to the database of Kano state population.
“The primary objective of this endeavor is to build a comprehensive database of Nigeria population by ensuring that all eligible children are registered. This initiative is not limited to Kano alone, as it is simultaneously being carried out in 21 other states across Nigeria.”
“UNICEF, in partnership with local authorities, aimed to register an approximately one million unregistered children in Kano, all aged between zero and five years, across the state’s 44 local government areas.
” The importance of birth registration, is that it forms the basis for accurate population figures, aiding in national, regional, and local planning and development”, the director explained.
In his lead presentation, Rahama Mohammed Farah, Chief, UNICEF Field Office Kano, said that his organisation is suporting the child birth registration program, as a way of assisting Nigeria to development accurate population census.
He noted that the registration is coming against the backdrop of a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Population Prospects 2019 statistics which indicated that, about 20,000 children are born every day in Nigeria, and in the 2023, the population for children under-1 would be about 7.5 million, and children under-5 would be about 36 million.
“I begin by thanking the media participants for their continued support to child rights advocacy, but not also forgetting the National Population Commission (NPC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), for organizing this Media Dialogue with the support of UNICEF.
“According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Population Prospects 2019 about 20,000 children are born every day in Nigeria, and the 2023 projected population for children under-1 is 7,465,417: and 35,597,131 for children under-5. This requires registration and certification of millions of children annually.
“Yet, Article 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), specifies that every child has a right to a name and nationality. That Article also prescribes that children must be registered when they are born and given a name which is officially recognized by the government.
“However, despite these provisions, birth registration uptake in Nigeria has been less than optimal, depriving Nigerian children the rights recognized by both the UN and the Government of Nigeria.
“If the births of eligible children are not registered, it deprives the Nigerian child a right to a formal identity. Legally speaking, that child becomes invisible and does not exist”, the UNICEF chief explained.
He explained that the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2021 conducted by UNICEF, which indicated that 54.6 per cent of the births of children under five are registered in Kano State, compared to 57. 3 per cent at the national level.
“For the states of Katsina and Jigawa, he said that under-five birth Registration is as low as 23.6 percent in Jigawa, and 67 per cent, in Katsina state.
“The MICS 2021 survey also found that 2 out of every 3 mothers and caregivers of children aged below five years, whose births were not registered, did not know how to register births. The MICS 2021 puts percentage of children under 5 whose births are registered as ranging from as high as 89 per cent for the richest wealth quintile, to as low as 33 per cent for the poorest wealth quintile.
“Addressing the challenge of inadequate or lack of awareness of the importance of Birth Registration, and where caregivers and mothers can go to register the births of their children, is therefore very urgent. It is important to communicate the innovative, digital birth registration procedure to motivate caregivers, parents, the general public, and everyone to embrace Birth Registration.
“To ensure that the birth of every child Nigeria is registered, UNICEF is supporting the Government to strengthen coverage of birth registration during immunization services in health facilities, capturing children who are under one year of age as soon as they are born, during Maternal and New-born Child Health Weeks (MNCHWs), and through Supplemental Immunization Activities, using digitalized processes.
“In 2023, UNICEF is supporting the efforts of multi-sectoral partners in scaling up birth registration coverage in Nigeria and investing in safe and innovative technology to facilitate birth registration in Nigeria. This will contribute to timely, accurate and permanent records of births in Nigeria”, he disclosed.