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14.02.2004 General News

Parents urged to register their children

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Tema, Feb.14, GNA -- A Birth and Death Registrar at Tema on Saturday called on the public to take advantage of the 'fee free" registration facility to register their new born babies since registration is needed for smooth planning for the country.

During the celebration of the Day of the African Child in June last year, cabinet waived fees for the registration of children and extended the fee-free period of registration from 21 days to 12 months after birth.

The Tema District Registrar of the Department of Birth and Death, Mrs Hannah Twumasi-Ankrah, who made the call, said with the introduction of the system, registration of births in the Municipality increased from 11,264 in the year 2002, to 13,537 in 2003.

She attributed a host of factors, including ignorance about the importance of birth registration and the 10,000 cedis fee charge, to the low coverage of births in the Municipality in the previous years. According to her, some parents were also trapped within the fee free periods because of the African way of naming the new born and the fun fair associated with naming ceremonies.

"Some think they had to get the name for the child before they register therefore, if after months family members have not come out with the name, they will not come to register the child.

"But this is not necessary, we only need the event to be reported to us and the statistics of the events that are occurring so that we can even fix in the name later on," she added.

She therefore, advised parents to make sure their new born babies are registered in the exact District that they were born and to ensure that they keep certain vital information about the registration, especially the place and date of issuance of the certificate so that in case of misplacement or wanting to make certain changes, a certified copy could be prepared easily.

This, she said, is also to avoid the problem of double registration as well as "proxy registration, which is, undertaking the process on behalf of other officers.

Mrs Hannah Twumasi-Ankrah gave the statistics for deaths registered in the year 2002 as 1,825 and that of 2003 as 1,835.

She mentioned lack of education and unnecessary favouritism on the part of some mortuary attendants who refuse to demand certificate of death before releasing the body, as some reasons why people were not registering their deaths.

She however stressed the need for the Department of Birth and Death to have budgetary allocation for education to the public on the need to register both births and deaths in a country.

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