Katavi. After launching the implementation of the gender responsive simplified birth registration system, two regions of Katavi and Rukwa target to roll out more than 400,000 birth certificates to under-five children in the next two months.
Before this system was introduced, registration could only take place at the district headquarters, while now more than 478 registration points have been set up with 1,021 trained staff to assist in the process.
Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (Rita)’s chief executive officer Emmy Hudson said the system provide transformation and make it easier for children and their families to access a birth certificate.
“Now, parents can receive birth certificates from the designated health facilities or through ward executive offices. The system has helped thousands of children in the regions where the decentralised system is in operation and we have a plan to replicate this throughout Tanzania Mainland in the shortest possible time,” she said.
The government has been implementing this programme since 2013 in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), Tigo Tanzania with funding from the Canadian Government.
Katavi and Rukwa join other 20 regions that have had the simplified birth registration system in place through which more than seven million under-five children have been reached.
The regions include Arusha, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Ruvuma, Singida, Dodoma, Mara, Simiyu, Lindi, Mtwara, Geita, Shinyanga, Mbeya, Songwe, Mwanza, Iringa, Njombe, Morogoro and Coast.
Gracing the launching event yesterday Constitution and Legal Affairs minister Paramagamba Kabudi directed regional and district authorities to effectively supervise and make sure all children born in Tanzania have birth certificate.
Prof Kabudi also insisted on getting correct information from parents because the two regions bordering other nations and thus vulnerable for deceiving facts from non citizens.
“More awareness and campaigning should be done and a close partnership between the partners and government,” he said.
Unicef-Tanzania’s Child Protection chief Maud Fortuijn said the simplified birth registration system was reversing the low level of birth registration which means that millions of children under-five who are ‘invisible’ in the nation’s records, would now become ‘visible’.
“The right to be registered immediately after birth, to have a name and acquire a nationality is every child’s right, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child which is now over 30 years old,” she said.
High Commission of Canada’s Inclusive Governance Sector Lead and Second Secretary (Development) Julia Hamel said, her country prioritised such critical steps to ensure children, especially young women and girls, could access health services, education, and other key rights and protection.
“The country has financed CAD30 million (near Sh55 billion) for the project,” she said.
Tigo is supporting the initiative through innovative mobile technology, providing 1,750 smartphones, worth Sh148 million, routers and free SMS for campaigning.
According to Unicef, the new system has resulted in an overall increase of certification of under-fives in the covered regions from less than 10 percent to more than 80 percent. The system has also helped in improving the certification rate for Tanzania Mainland from less than 13 percent to more than 60 percent in a little over eight years.