In Ghana, more than four in 10 children are not registered at birth. And even when children are registered, many are still lacking a birth certificate.
A joint statement from the partners, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said the new system had the potential of revolutionising the registration of new born babies making it quick and easy for parents to obtain a birth certificate with correct information.
For the government the new system offered a more robust and cost effective system as it transferred the information about the birth automatically from the site of registration to a central data base in Accra.
The partnership involved support for equipment, supplies and technical support that would enable the Births and Deaths Registry to transition from the current manual registration system to a modern, automated system.
These children, the statement said, were at higher risk of exploitative forms of child labour, trafficking and child marriage, adding that when children were separated from their families, reuniting them and determining their right age was more difficult as a result of the lack of official documentation.
“Birth registration is more than just a right. It is how a society first recognises and acknowledges a child’s identity and existence.
“Birth registration is also key to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations,” Rushnan Murtaza, the UNICEF Ghana Deputy Representative, was quoted as saying.
Birth registration rates in Ghana has stagnated over the past few years, consistently leaving out about 35 per cent of all new-born babies.
The new automated birth registration system’s use of technology is addressing this challenge by making the system more efficient, effective, and cost-effective.
Mr John Agbeko, the Registrar of the Births and Deaths Registry, said: “Birth registration and a birth certificate are vital documents that give a child an identity and a sense of belonging. Birth registration is an essential component of a country’s civil registry; it strengthens the quality of vital statistics, aids planning and improves government efficiency.”
The new system would help oversee the entire country’s birth registration performance by introducing real-time performance monitoring. Ultimately, the use of technology for birth registration would form a strong foundation and give legal identity and protection to Ghana’s future generation, the statement said.