In Nigeria more than half of all births of children under the age of five are unregistered, according to UNICEF.
Furthermore, the births of 166 million children under the age of five have never been recorded anywhere in the world.
Children on the African continent have the lowest birth registration rate in the world, with only 44% of babies being recorded at birth, resulting in millions of deaths each year. Nigeria alone is home to 11% of unregistered children in We
This is as Nigeria joins the rest of the World in commemorating Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day today, it is addressing structural, normative and operational challenges to birth registration.
Birth registration is a one-time occurrence that provides each kid with a unique identification and improves access to essential services such as health, education, and social protection.
UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative Peter Hawkins said, “Every child counts and we must ensure that we count every child, so that 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
The National Population Council (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.
“Every child has a right to a name, a nationality and a legal identity,” said Peter Hawkins. “Working together, we can and must bring Nigeria to meeting its SDG obligation to provide a legal identify for all, including through birth registration.”
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 optimizes 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 5 years of age whose births have been registered with a civil authority, by age.”