Accra, Feb. 16, GNA - Plan Ghana, an International Non-Governmental Organisation, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Births and Deaths Registry (BDR) to improve the registration system in Ghana.
Under the agreement, Plan Ghana would support the BDR to increase accessibility of birth registration by improving and integrating the community population register scheme into the national programme.
It would also assist the BDR to improve its data management - processing, storage and retrieval at regional and national level through computerization of records, increase awareness of the population on the importance of births and deaths registration and improve its operational efficiency in the target regions and nationwide, among others.
Mr Amadou Bocoum, Country Director of Plan Ghana, said this at a day's preparatory meeting with various stakeholders' concerned with the production and use of civil registration data.
The meeting heralded the launch of the global "Universal Birth Registration" campaign scheduled for February 22 in New York, USA. Mr Bocoum said the organization had allocated 2.5 billion cedis to the BDR in its effort to achieve the universal birth registration in Ghana.
He said universal birth registration was fundamental to the realization of the right of the child and a tool for development planning, which demanded universal approach.
Plan Ghana, in collaboration with the BDR would embark on an advocacy campaign to encourage the creation of more effective government laws and structures to register births and to enhance the capacity of the Department to undertake birth registration at the community, district, regional and national level, Mr Bocoum added.
Plan would also work with the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, Ghana National Commission on Children, National Commission on Civic Education, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, local NGOs, the media and other partners to promote awareness creation on the importance of births registration.
Mr Samuel Petro Ankrah, Registrar of Births and Deaths, said registration figures of new births at the close of the third quarter of 2004 had increased from 49 per cent to 51 per cent at last quarter of the year.
He said the major interventions that had contributed to that achievement included public education and sensitization activities, free registration of infants, collaboration with Ghana Health Service, training of community volunteers and support from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Mr Ankrah said the global programme on Universal Birth Registration, as means of promoting and protecting the rights of the child, would create a platform for the BDR and its major partners, to explore ways through which to pool resources to "create a Ghana in which the future development of our children will be guaranteed on all fronts".
"Their right to an identity and legal recognition, their right to education, health-care, social and economic well-being and protection will be properly defined if we can ensure that every child in Ghana is registered and given a birth certificate as soon as he/she is born."
He said the responsibility of registration rested with the family and "it will not be fair on our part as adults to trample on these rights of the innocent child".