12 June 2017

Liberia: Birth Certificate Printing Machine Down

The only machine used to print birth and death certificates at the Ministry of Health is said to be broken down for more than a month now.

But the Director of Communications at the Ministry of Health Sorbor George has denied the report.

According to an inside source who chose not to be named, every morning applicants gathered in their numbers at the Ministry of Health on Capitol Bye-pass in small groups standing around the Ministry's premises which is also hosting several other government offices to get news on when the machine will be repaired or replaced.

Without the birth and death certificate, one cannot obtain a passport and those in need of death certificates are even finding it difficult to obtain it, which is a one of the major pre-requisites for getting their dead ones to funeral homes in the country.

What is becoming more troubling nowadays is that since the traditional Diversity Visa (DV) program began releasing results, many applicants who are opportune to have won but have not been able to obtain a passport are those who are victimized as a result of the breakdown in the system which is responsible to prepare their document beginning with a birth certificate.

There is report that the Ministry has been able to get a smaller machine to begin the process again but the breakdown of the main machine is posing serious problem for those who already have their certificates in process and are complaining that the situation could ruin their traveling plans.

The source said the ministry has just one of those machines in the entire country that can efficiently print as many copies of certificates as possible on a daily basis, and whenever it is time to service the machine; authorities in charge complain they do not have money to do so.

The source said what is frustrating is the fact that applicants from all over the country have been going back and forth to the Ministry for over a month but have not been able to obtain their birth certificates, while those in charge of regulating the system are seriously extorting money from them in the name of assisting them speed up the process.

The bureau of health and vitalization between July 2015 and July 2016 is said to have generated L$12,393,500 in revenue from both birth and death certificates for the Liberian government through the Ministry of Health.

When contacted, Director George denied that the machine has been down for more than a month now.

However, he said the machine had some problems but was repaired more than a month ago.

George said birth certificates are being printed by the machine daily.


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