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UNICEF: Over 50% of under-five children unregistered at birth in Nigeria

UNICEF: Over 50% of under-five children unregistered at birth in Nigeria
August 11
12:40 2021

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says less than 50 percent of children under five years in Nigeria were registered at birth.

In a statement released on Tuesday, UNICEF said children in Africa have the lowest birth registration rate globally, with Nigeria accounting for 11 percent of the rate in West Africa.

The UN body said birth registration is a one-off event that gives every child a “unique identity which will give them better access to vital services like health, education, and social protection”.

“In Nigeria, more than 50% of the births of children under 5 remain unregistered. Globally, the births of 166 million children under 5 have never been recorded,” it said.

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“Children on the African continent have the lowest birth registration rate in the world, with only 44 per cent of children registered at birth and millions of deaths also go uncounted each year. Nigeria alone accounts for 11 per cent of unregistered children in West Africa.

“As Nigeria joins the rest of the World in commemorating Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day today, it is addressing structural, normative and operational challenges to birth registration.”

Peter Hawkins, the UNICEF Nigeria country representative, asked the federal government to ensure legal identity for all including birth registration by 2030 in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16.9

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“Every child counts – and we must ensure that we count every child, so that they can best benefit from important services like health and education,” Hawkins said.

“We need to work together to ensure effective coordination to make this happen. Functional systems that allow for the sharing of data across information management databases that are integrated with other vital services are necessary to push the birth registration rate in Nigeria up, and make sure every child is counted.”

UNICEF said the National Population Council (NPC) in partnership with Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) entities has created a Roadmap for Digital Universal Birth Registration,

“The roadmap lays out a clear vision, delineates the roles of different government agencies, builds the government’s capacity to deliver, formulates an action plan, sets a timetable and milestones, and optimises the cost of the digital birth registration process in the country,” it said.

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“All of this is in advance of the implementation deadline of the UN SDGs.”

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