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Ghana goes hi-tech in birth registration

May 6, 2016, 4:29 p.m.

More than four out of 10 children in Ghana are not registered at birth. The majority of those who get registered do not have birth certificates. 

According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), about 15% of the registered children below the age of five do not have birth certificate and children who are not registered at birth or without identification documents are at risk of being excluded from accessing education, healthcare and other basic services.

These children are at higher risk of exploitative forms of child labour, trafficking and child marriage.

To address these challenges, telecommunications operator, Tigo has partnered the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Births and Deaths Registry to launch a new automated birth registration system that is more efficient and cost-effective.

The Registrar at the Births and Deaths Registry of Ghana, Mr John Agbeko, noted that birth registration and a birth certificate are vital documents that give a child a sense of belonging.

This new system seeks to eliminate the current system where you are required to fill forms, hence solving the problem of registration backlogs.

It would also offer the opportunity to monitor performance in real time, as well as reducing the turnaround time for processing birth certificate.

He added that birth registration is an essential component of a country’s civil registry, strengthens the quality of vital statistics, aids planning and improves government efficiency.

Mr Agbeko explained that despite improvements in Ghana’s birth registration system over recent years, access to births and deaths registry services remains a major challenge in many parts of the country.

“Several districts are without registration offices while logistics such as registration forms and inadequate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure contribute to poor registration rates,” he added.

He noted that the registry, together with UNICEF, after being ignored by some telecom companies for support, was approached by Tigo with the same concept.

Tigo, he stated, initially provided his outfit with 10 tablets and four laptops, which were deployed to 11 communities and four hospitals on a limited pilot base, he mentioned.

The Chief Executive Officer for Tigo, Roshi Motman, on her part, announced that Tigo is ready to scale up the programme to 300 communities, including hospitals, with 540 tables provided by Tigo.

She emphasised that Tigo is absolutely committed to helping the government improve on the quality of healthcare and education through mobile technology.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this news report do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC)