- UNICEF Announces 19 Million Unregistered Child Births, Calls For Awareness Campaigns
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Funds (UNICEF) has announced that 19 million children in Nigeria have not had their births registered.
UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist, Sharon Oladiji revealed this at a 2-day media conference held in Kano which was planned for stakeholders; including the media and health workers in the 19 northern states of the in the country.
The specialist also disclosed that 10 countries will contribute to massive increase in Africa’s population within a 35-year period. She attributed the increase in population to poor birth registration which is caused by lack of proper planning and public ignorance about the importance of birth registration.
She further said that a good number of unregistered children were born by poor, uneducated parents located in slums and inaccessible communities, hence introducing fees to people of this category, will worsen the situation.
She adds that, “The waiver of fees was made in Nigeria as a result of low birth registration. Introducing fees will further limit the already low level of birth registration coverage”.
“10 countries will also contribute massively to the region’s immense population increase in absolute terms between 2015 and 2050. Nigeria is expected to contribute at least 257 million additional inhabitants. Kenya and Niger will contribute plus 50 million and Sudan with plus 38 million.
“The possible consequence of a weak birth registration system is planning blindly, incapacity to generate relevant public health data and national estimate and population planning,” she said.
The specialist expressed concerns about the increase in unregistered children in the country, saying that it might have a negative impact on the country. She suggested that officers responsible for processing registration for children immediately after birth, should be positioned in different Local Government Areas across the country.
She urged participants at the conference to take the first step in crusading for childbirth registration by making sure they register not less than 10 to 20 children on a daily basis in their communities.
She appealed to media practitioners to include programmes that would create awareness about childbirth registration in the country; especially in rural areas.