Birth registration programme implemented by the National Population Commission (NPopC), with support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has increased the number of children between the ages of zero and 17 years registered in the country by about 29 million.
According to the evaluation report launched yesterday, for children under one year of age, the programme increased, by more than 100 percent, the number of children registered, from three million in 2012, to 11 million, in 2016.
“Low rate 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,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.
It was in this context that the programme was initiated to accelerate birth registration rate – particularly for children under the age of five, between 2012 and 2016.
The programme made significant improvements in strengthening the birth registration system in Nigeria. At the level of infrastructure, the numbers of NPopC registrars/centres increased to nearly 4,000 in 2016, from about 3,000 in 2012, helping 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 (LGs) in Nigeria. The LGs now have specified targets, reports and performance ranking.
Some key benefits of the 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).