Ghana is doing about 65 per cent births registration and 23 per cent deaths registration, which is below the global benchmark of 90 per cent or better, Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Volta Regional Minister, has stated.
However, she said: “The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is committed to supporting the Births and Deaths Registry to ensure that universal births and deaths registration coverage is achieved by 2020.”
Mrs Ntoso was addressing the 11th National Births and Deaths Registration Day, at Adaklu-Goefe, in the Volta Region. It was under the theme, “Civil Registration, Crucial for Inclusive Social and Economic Development.”
The Day was organised by the Births and Deaths Registry in partnership with UNICEF, Plan Ghana, UNFPA, and the Department of Gender and Children and Social Protection.
Madam Eugene Baek, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Ghana stated: “Although some achievements have been made since our partnership with the Births and Deaths registry, more than a decade ago, there are still about 40 per cent of children whose births are unregistered every year.”
“We know the Registry has the capacity to achieve full coverage of 100 per cent and sustain it”.
A total of 91 children below five years in Goefe and surrounding communities were registered during the celebration.
Metro Mass Transit buses were hired to ferry parents mainly mothers, with babies strapped to their backs to the event.
Madam Baek said civil registrations, in spite of their immense importance did not function properly in many African countries, including Ghana.
She said this prompted the “Working Group on Monitoring of Vital Events” (MOVE), comprising UN agencies and the African Union, to describe the situation as the “Scandal of Invisibility”.
This is because many Africans die of causes that are not known, making it difficult to monitor and manage morbidity and mortality, she explained
Madam Baek explained that in countries where births and deaths registration systems were highly developed, it was easier to estimate the required resources adequately, provide inclusive development in terms of both social and economic.
It also protected and promoted children’s rights and helped equip them with necessary preparation, including appropriate education and health services as well as protection services, she said.
She, therefore, asked District Assemblies to consider births and deaths registration as part of their development agenda because it marked the beginning and ending of a person, set the standard for other civic responsibilities, and worked as the most basic platform to link other critical civil systems such as national security and elections.
Meanwhile, the Volta Regional Births and Deaths Registry has asked District Assemblies and Chiefs to arrange to have the Registry carry out the registration of births and deaths in their areas regularly.
The Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1965 (Act 301) makes registration of children before their first birthday free and compulsory.