UNICEF laments over low birth registration in Nigeria

The United Nations Children Education Fund, UNICEF, yesterday decried the unacceptable low-level of birth registration in the country, saying, over 62 percent of births in Nigeria take place outside health facilities.

Disclosing this at a two-day Media Dialogue in Kano on Birth Registration, UNICEF Child Specialist, Mrs Sharon Oladiji, said advocacy at all state levels are needed to strengthen support for birth registration.

Oladiji said the importance of birth registration to national development could not be overemphasized as it helps government to take right policies.

According to her, About 40 per cent of women have access healthcare facilities which was a major problem in birth registration and when women don’t visit the healthcare facility, how do you expect them to register births. ” In 2016, registered birth under aged one is 2,519,071 which translated to 51 per cent of the estimated birth in the country. “But in 2017, it was reduced to 7,066 birth registration out of the 4,758,812 expected births under age one.

“It is therefore worrisome in 2018 where the performance of birth registration for under one is only 32 per cent while under five is 8 percent. This also shows that all the states have low registration and this can be traceable to some limitations which must be urgently addressed. ”

Oladiji added that there was need for local support to mount health centres, increase health registrars and constantly sensitizing the public on the importance of birth registration in the country.

Earlier, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed said there was need for widespread media campaign to enlighten and create awareness in homes, communities and at all levels of government on birth registration.

Mohammed, who was represented by the Head of Advocacy, Child Right Information Bureau in the ministry, Mr Olumide Osanyipeju said the low awareness of birth registration had resulted to lack of planning. ” The low-level, or apparently lack of awareness on the importance of birth registration has resulted in lack of planning for children and improper capturing of this important segment of our society in developmental and social processes that affect them.

“Workable solutions to this general weak knowledge can begin right from the homes and communities and through a wide-spread media campaign aimed at creating awareness at all levels of governance and civil society.”
He added that the media campaign would drive demand for birth registration services and promote increased knowledge on the importance of birth registration. He, however, commended UNICEF for their contributions, unyielded support and partnership with the Federal Government in ensuring that birth registration process yield achievable results.