Children birth registration in Nigeria is increasing by 29 million, confirmed by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF.
This was made known today Monday, by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, while releasing a birth registration evaluation reports, which according to the reports, the children registered felt within the age bracket of zero and seventeen (17).
UNICEF had gone further to say that, the birth registration programme was implemented by the National Population Commission (NPopC), adding that, the implementation was supported by UNICEF.
Speaking through the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Fall, UNICEF said that, the “Low rates of birth registration is a challenge in Nigeria. “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.
“It is in this context that the programme was initiated to accelerate birth registration rates, particularly for children under the age of five, between 2012 and 2016, ‘’ Mohamed Fall said. According to him, the programme has made significant improvements in the area of strengthening the birth registration system in the country.
In the area of infrastructure, he said that the numbers of NPopC Registrars/Centres increased to nearly 4,000 in 2016 from about 3,000 in 2012. “This helped to achieve a harmonised, 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 in Nigeria. “The LGAs now have specified targets, reports and performance ranking,’’ he also said.
Continuing, the UNICEF representative said that, NPopC has been urged as a primary service provider, to make sure that it takes greater ownership as well as, a proactive approach on the registration of newborn children, including all other children who may not have been registered.
“NPopC is advised to prioritize digitisation, advocacy and lobbying for more funds to effectively implement the Strategic CRVS Plan between 2018 and 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,’’ Fall quipped.
Also speaking was the Deputy Representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Ms. Pernille Ironside, who said that birth registration was a critical part of UNICEF’s four pillars of child rights programming. According to her, these include survival, and development, and protection as well as participation.
Ironside went on to said that UNICEF had been working with the Federal Government with a view to addressing systemic bottlenecks that have impeded birth registration in the country, all with the aim of achieving sustainable results for children. “We sought this independent impact evaluation of UNICEF Nigeria’s Birth Registration Programme because we wanted to know what worked and perhaps what didn’t work as well in our efforts to strengthen the birth registration system in Nigeria.
“What we found was that Nigeria’s rapid population growth requires stronger efforts to ensure that birth registration can keep pace with that growth, especially in the under-five population. “This finding points us in the right direction for our future work on this important issue and our work to deliver results for children and change children’s lives for the better,’’ Ironside said.
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