Today the Births and Deaths Registry of the Government of Ghana, Tigo and UNICEF Ghana officially launched a new, automated birth registration system. This new system has the potential of revolutionizing the registration of new born babies making it quick and easy for parents to obtain a birth certificate with correct information.
For the Government, the new system offers a more robust and cost effective system as it transfers the information about the birth automatically from the site of registration to a central data base in Accra.
In Ghana, more than 4 in 10 children are not registered at birth. And even when children are registered, many are still lacking a birth certificate. About 15% of the registered children below the age of five do not have a birth certificate. Children who are not registered at birth or without identification documents are at risk of being excluded from accessing education, health care and other basic services. These children are at higher risk of exploitative forms of child labour, trafficking and child marriage. When children are separated from their families, reuniting them and determining their right age is more difficult as a result of the lack of official documentation.
“Birth registration is more than just a right. It is how a society first recognizes and acknowledges a child’s identity and existence,” said Rushnan Murtaza, UNICEF Ghana Deputy Representative. “Birth registration is also key to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations.”
Birth registration rates in Ghana has stagnated over the past few years, consistently leaving out about 35% of all new-born babies. The new automated birth registration system’s use of technology is addressing this challenge by making the system more efficient, effective, and cost-effective.
“Birth registration and a birth certificate are vital documents that give a child an identity and a sense of belonging” said Mr. John Agbeko, Registrar of the Births and Deaths Registry. Birth registration is an essential component of a country’s civil registry, it strengthens the quality of vital statistics, aids planning and improves government efficiency.
In order to enable every child’s right to an identity and belonging the Birth and Deaths Registry, Millicom Ghana Limited and UNICEF Ghana are partnering to roll-out an automated birth registration system in Ghana today. The partnership involves support for equipment, supplies and technical support that will enable the Births and Deaths Registry to transition from the current manual registration system to a modern, automated system.
“The ultimate outcomes for children are clear: the elimination of lengthy, ineffective, manual birth registration procedures replaced by a quicker, smarter and more efficient birth registration process”, said the CEO for Tigo Ghana Limited. “It will also help oversee the entire country’s birth registration performance by introducing real-time performance monitoring.”
Ultimately, the use of technology for birth registration will form a strong foundation and give legal identity and protection to Ghana’s future generation.