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01.09.2005 General News

Registration of births and deaths not impressive


Accra, Sept. 1, GNA - Registration of births and deaths has increased, but coverage is still not very impressive, Mr Abraham Odoom, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said on Thursday.

"A critical look at the trends in births and deaths registration over the years shows that registration coverage has not been impressive despite the efforts made to improve it," he said. The Deputy Minister said this at a press briefing in Accra to throw light on the activities of births and deaths registration and the way forward.

September 1 has been declared as Births and Deaths Registration Day due to its historical importance in Ghana. It is being observed with weeklong of activities under the theme: "Births and Deaths Registration - A Tool for National Development Planning".

Records in births and deaths registry show that the first birth registered in Ghana occurred in Accra on September 1, 1912 and on the same day the baby died and her death was also registered in the register of deaths for Accra.

Mr Odoom noted that the births and deaths registration system played a major role in the collection of vital statistics to help improve the nation's ability to plan effectively, monitor, evaluate and report on social and economic policies.

Data from births registration, he said, could be used to calculate indicators such as family size and fertility rate, which were important to development.

Without knowing all the children born in the country at a particular time, most of them will fall out of the mainstream of planning and, therefore, not enjoy the benefits of children's development policies especially at the early childhood stage. Mr Odoom mentioned some of the problems affecting the registry as inadequate staffing, funding, logistics and motivation. Mr Samuel Ankrah, Registrar of the Births and Deaths Registry, said some of the problems the Registry faced were multiple registration and fake certificates.

He said what people with old birth certificates, which they claimed were rejected by the Passport Office, needed was to send them to the Registry for issuance of a certified true copy instead of registering for new certificates.

Mr Ankrah said due to lack of education people ended up registering more than once.

He said the Registry was computerising its data to make it work efficient adding that if the needed logistics were acquired this year, services to the public would be improved by the latter part of next year.

The Registrar also noted that registration of children under age one attracted no fee, saying that a burial certificate did not attract a fee if the death was registered within seven days.

He said the Registry was collaborating with governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the Ministry of Health, Statistical Services, UNICEF and Plan Ghana, among other bodies, to expand the births and deaths registration coverage.