180,000 new births not registered officially

•  Mr. Alex Segbefia,  Health Minister

• Mr. Alex Segbefia,
Health Minister

An estimated 180,000 children representing 44 per cent, born in the country last year have not be registered by the Births and Deaths Registry the acting Director, John Yao Agbeko, has revealed.

He said out of the 659,275 children projected to have been born last year, only 478,380 were registered by the Registry.

Mr. Agbeko disclosed this in an interview with The Ghanaian Times at a roundtable discussion on the National Identification system in Accra, on Thursday, and said similarly, out of the 278, 992 deaths projected, only 53,185 representing 19 per cent were registered.

He mentioned failure of parents and families to register their new born babies and deceased relatives, inadequate facilities and funding as some reasons the Registry could not register all the new born babies and the deceased.

The programme, organised by Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station, in collaboration with the World Bank Office in Accra,  was on the theme, National Identification: A panacea for Ghana’s social economic and political development.

It brought together representatives of security printing companies, civil society organisations, media and a cross section of the public to discuss the need for the country to have a integrated ID system, to address the current arrangement in which state agencies issued separate ID cards.

Mr Agbeko said out of the 838,337 new babies projected to be delivered in 2014, only 476, 447 could be registered, while of out of the 272,187 deaths projected, only 52,576 were be registered.

Mr. Agbeko said between 35 and 40 per cent of new born children and 65 and 70 per cent of individuals who die in the country annually were not registered and said the situation could have serious repercussions on the country.

He said because the new born children were not registered, the state could not properly plan for them.

Mr. Agbeko stressed the need for the Death and Birth Registry to be strategically positioned to become a source of information to the National Identification Authority, adding that “a well-established Birth and Death Registry will have enormous benefit to the country.”

He disclosed that the Registry, with support from UNICEF, had embarked on a pilot project to register new born babies and people who die, through mobile phones.

The pilot project, he said, was being carried out at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Police Hospital and Adenta.

Mr. Agbeko further said section 302 of the Birth and Death Registry Act was being amended to give the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies the mandate to take over the management of cemeteries in the country.

That, he said, would ensure that anybody who died within the jurisdiction of any of the MMDAs was registered before the person was buried.

The Country General Manager of IBM, Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh, expressed worry about the inability of the Birth and Death Registry to register new born babies and deceased Ghanaians.

By Kingsley Asare

 

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