Singida. The Constitution and Legal Affairs Minister Dr Augustine Mahiga has launched the decentralised birth registration system for under-five children in Dodoma and Singida regions.
Under the system, more than 650, 000 under-five children in the two regions will receive birth certificates in the coming two months.
Speaking at the launching ceremony today, March 21, Dr Mahiga said the exercise was part of the government’s efforts to bring about development to its people.
“But development cannot come without having correct statistics of your people,” he said. “This exercise is intended to accomplish that.”
The goal of the decentralised birth registration is to establish a system for registering all new births and register all under-five children at the grassroots level.
While registration could only take place at the district headquarters, under the new system, registration points will be established at health facilities, including those that provide reproductive and child health services.
The service will also be available at ward offices in the villages in line with the government policy of decentralization by devolution.
Parents will be able to access birth registration services for their children at more than 980 points compared to 12 points which existed previously.
“We are transforming the system to make it easier for children and their families to access the entitlement of a birth certificate,” said Emmy Hudson, acting chief executive officer at the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (Rita).
“The system has helped thousands of children in the regions where the decentralized system is in operation and we have a plan to replicate this throughout Tanzania Mainland in the shortest possible time.”
The government has been implementing this programme since 2013 in partnership with UNICEF, Tigo and with funding from the Canadian government.
Today, this initiative is being rolled out in Singida and Dodoma, joining Mara, Simiyu, Lindi, Mtwara, Geita, Shinyanga, Mbeya, Songwe, Mwanza, Iringa and Njombe which have already been covered and thereby reaching close to three million under-five ildren.
UNICEF Representative in Tanzania, Ms Maniza Zaman, said in her address that every child has the right to an identity and that a birth certificate is a vital record in the identification of children.
“This programme is reversing the current low level of birth registration which means that millions of under-five children who are invisible in the nation's records, will now be visible,” she said.
“This will help more Tanzanian children to claim their rights and be protected.”