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NPC Commences Automation Of Birth Registration Centres Across 774 LGAs

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…Targets 25m children in 5 years

Joel Ajayi

As part of measures put in place to upscale birth registration in the country, the National Population Commission, NPC said it has commenced the digitization of all the registration centers in the 774 LGA headquarters.

The Chairman of the Commission, Hon. Nasir kwarra disclosed this at a press briefing to mark the 2021 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day in Abuja.

He said the Commission was worried about the low rate of birth registration in the country due to the on-going COVVID-19 pandemic that has weakened the structures of the civil registration system in many African countries.

He explained that the ongoing automation process, which is already being piloted in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja is in line with the Vision of African Union leaders and SDG goals.

Kwarra said the Commission currently has 4011 registration centres spread across the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country but is working with the development partners to increase it to 8,000 required to achieve optimal result.

Besides this, he said the Commission is also collaborating with most health centres and local governments, whose personnel assist their registrars in collecting information on deaths and births in their facilities.

According to him, currently, about 43% of under- 5 children are registered at birth and not more than 10% of deaths are registered in Nigeria. What this translates into is that many are born and die without leaving a trace of their existence in any legal records in the country.

This he said is attributable to a whole range of causative factors including: but not limited to geographiphic, cultural and traditional reasons.

He expressed optimism that the automation process, when fully automated nationwide, will significantly enhance the operational efficiency of the vital registration system in Nigeria

The NPC boss said the celebration of CRVS Day was in pursuant to the recommendation of conference of Africa Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in 2017 and endorsed by the Executive Council of the African Union the following year.

‘‘The purpose of the celebration was to increase public awareness on the importance of timely registration of vital events, particularly births and deaths, through well-functioning civil registration and vital systems.

‘‘The CRVS Day provides us with an opportunity for a reflection on the legal identity from birth to death of all persons and the realization of key human and civil rights, including the right to participate in society and economy and the right to access social services.

‘‘This can only be attained when the rights and civil liberties are found and strengthened by an efficient and effective civil registration and vital statistics systems that are inclusive, permanent, continuous, compulsory and confidential in nature.’’

In doing so, conscious efforts should be made to ensure that the Civil Registration and Vital Registration System enjoys a broad-based support that leverages the development in information technology, inter-operable and easily accessible to the generality of the people.

Having carefully navigated through its initial teething challenges, he said the Commission now at thick of an effective transformation from manual to wholly digitations, and automation of the CVRS system in Nigeria in an effort to revitalize and upgrade the system in line with the vision of the Africa Programme on Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics.

With the support of World Bank and UNICEF, Kwarra said the Commission has developed a Five-Year Strategic Action Plan (2018-2022).

According to him, the objective of the plan is to enhance the framework for actions and guidance for National, States, LGAs and Community initiatives aimed at ensuring that all vital events are registered.

He called for strong institutional framework, robust governance mechanism and effective coordination among a wide range of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to accelerate progress towards universal civil registration and integrated identity management system.

He equally called on development partners not to relent in their collaborative efforts with the Commission in the provision of technical and material support towards achieving the desired goal in civil registration and vital statistics system in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF, Ibrahim Sesay said the existence of accurate, regular and reliable statistics is imperative for evidence-based decision making in any country as well as in emergency response.

According to him, more than 50% of births of children under the age of five in Nigeria are still unregistered, which contributes 11% of unregistered births in West Africa.

He said the UNICEF has triggered a scalable process of assisting the NPC to strengthen and accelerate the birth registration service delivery at state and community levels with a focus of registering about 25 million children between 2021 and 2025.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Committee Chairman, Civil Registration and Vital Statistics at NPC, Dr. Ismaila Suleiman said the objective of the celebration was to inspire member states o accelerate the implementation of the civil registration and vital statistics in the continent in line with the global best practices.

Civil registration includes registration of births, deaths, marriages, migration which help in providing statistical data needed in planning the attainment of development goals with the potential to improve the well-being of the people.

Highlight of the event was a practical demonstration of digital registration of a new born baby with the mother.

This year’s celebration is themed: ‘‘Leadership for an essential service: Building resilient civil registration and vital statistics systems in Africa that provides innovative, integrated, and decentralized services for the post-COVID-19 period’’. It is aimed at demonstrating the essential role civil registration and vital statistics system plays in facilitating the recognition of the legal identity for all person as well as providing key data for planning, policy formulation, decision making and good governance.

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NCDC Calls For Urgent Action As Cholera Death Hits 816 In Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called on state governments and citizens to take more proactive steps to combat the outbreak of cholera across states in Nigeria.

The agency made the appeal in a report released on Monday, where it stated that there have been 31,425 suspected cases of cholera and 816 deaths reported from 22 states and the FCT, between January 1 and August 1, 2021.

The affected states are Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Adamawa, Katsina, Borno and the FCT.

According to the NCDC, the recent outbreak has been exacerbated by poor access to clean water, open defecation, poor sanitation, and hygiene.

Although the NCDC activated the National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on June 22 and has deployed rapid response teams to support the most affected states, it warned that those actions won’t be enough.

“None of these medical interventions will solve the underlying issues leading to cholera outbreaks,” it warned.

“Cholera is a waterborne disease, and the risk of transmission is higher when there is poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.”

Specifically, practices such as the wrong disposal of refuse and practices such as open defecation endanger the safety of water used for drinking and personal use.

“These lead to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera. Without proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH), Nigeria remains at risk of cholera cases and deaths,” the NCDC added.

To address the underlying issues in the long term, there is a need for access to safe drinking water, maintenance of proper sanitation and hygiene.

“We continue to advocate for State Governments to prioritise action for solutions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation and good hygiene practices in communities,” it added.

Also, the agency urged Nigerians to “keep their environments clean, only drink or use water that is boiled and stored safely, ensure food is cooked and stored in a clean and safe environment, avoid open defecation and wash their hands regularly with soap and running water”.

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