United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Birth Registration support to the National Population Commission (NPopC) has boosted the registration of 29m birth in five years.
This was the high point in a UNICEF evaluation report launched in Abuja, Monday April 15.
The UNICEF support according to the Evaluation report, assisted in increasing the number of birth registration of children between the ages of zero and 17 years registered in Nigeria from 3 million in 2012 to 11 million in 2016.
However, from all indications says UNICEF Representative, Mohammed Fall, “Low rates of birth registration is a challenge in Nigeria”.
For instance, “In 2011, the birth registration rate was 41 percent, which means that three in every five children were not registered. This lack of birth registration negatively affects a child’s ability to access his or her right to health care, education and many other rights”, says Fall.
UNICEF launched the intervention programme to improve birth registration in Nigeria especially for all children below the age of five who hitherto had never been registered between 2012 and 2016
There was a significant improvement in strengthening the birth registration system in Nigeria.
At the level of infrastructure, the numbers of NPopC Registrars/Centres increased to nearly 4000 in 2016 from about 3,000 in 2012, helping to achieve a harmonized, accessible and efficient birth registration system, which now functions as an integral part of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in Nigeria.
The programme’s use of ICT tools for birth registration introduced target-driven performance in all of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria. The LGAs now have specified targets, reports and performance ranking.
Some key benefits of the birth registration programme are: fully sustained partnership and convergence with health interventions; innovative use of ICT tools and applications; and a strong link with the national CRVS Strategic Plan (2018-22).
The report asked NPopC, as a primary service provider, to take “greater ownership and a proactive approach” on registration of newborn children and all other children who are still unregistered. NPopC is advised to prioritize digitization, advocacy, and lobbying for more funds to effectively implement the Strategic CRVS Plan (2018-2022).
Birth registration remains pivotal to child wellbeing in Nigeria, Overall survey results, as part of the evaluation, indicate that nearly half of the survey respondents perceived that an increase in birth registration can help reduce child rights violations.