May 27, 2009, 7:49 AM
The Birth Certificate Unit of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently started a two-week mini-birth registration campaign for children under-five years in the Central River Region north.
The programme was funded by UNICEF, in a bid to increase birth registration rate in the region.
In an interview with The Point Lamin B. Fatty, deputy registrar of birth, spoke at length on the importance of the exercise.
He added that the exercise would increase the registration rate of births in the region, which according to reports, the CRR region has the lowest birth and death registration in the country.
“The purpose of this exercise is to increase the registration rate of births for children from 0-5 years within CRR north,” he added.
Registering children would give them their right to identification, nationality, access to education and other national positions and this also helps government in planning and policy formulations.
“Birth certificates are fundamental documents of the nation and asserted that birth registration is every child’s right; that when every child has a name and nationality it counts a lot in the country,” he asserted.
He revealed that teams are being deployed across this part of the region, and the registration is free of charge - no cost is attached to it.
Fatty explained that there is a criterion to be met for a child to be registered; his/her parents should produce a clinic card or an alkali attestation to ascertain the nationality of that particular child to be issued a birth certificate.
Musa Camara, senior administrative officer at the regional health team, hailed UNICEF and the health ministry for undertaking such an initiative.
He noted that the exercise aims at giving target children names, nationality and identification, which is a right.
He urged parents and care-givers to come out in their numbers to obtain birth certificates for their children, during the exercise and to help the registration teams to achieve their target.
Jakonba Saho, a parent who came to register her child, said he was happy that the process is quick and free.
Saho said they faced many difficulties in registering their children because it is time consuming and involved a lot of travelling thus commending authorities for coming to their doorsteps.
She commended the health ministry and her development partners for providing the strategic support in conducting such a worthy exercise.