Uganda: 89 Percent Children Have No Birth Certificates - Unicef

30 September 2019

A total of 89 per cent Ugandan children do not have birth certificates, according to a new report by United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).

The report titled "The extent and nature of multidimensional child poverty and deprivation", compiled after a two-and-a half year study, indicates that Karamoja Sub-region has the lowest number of children with birth certificates in the country with 1 per cent, followed by West Nile with 4 per cent where as Busoga and Bukedi are at 5 per cent.

The report was launched last week by Mr Lawrence Egulu, a commissioner in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, who called upon stakeholders to focus more on implementation of government policies.

"We hope that the figures will enable us integrate these statistics into the planning process... how much then goes into child centred development programming and policy implementation?" Mr Egulu asked.

Nira response

The spokesperson of the National Identification Registration Authority (Nira), Mr Gilbert Kadilo, attributed the lack of birth certificates countrywide to the delay in formulating an enabling law.

He said the registration of birth certificates was previously optional until the 2015 Registration of Persons Act.

"These have been optional undertakings and people registered their children as and when they wanted... Now since it has become compulsory for everyone to register at birth for the National ID, we are hopeful that the rate will go up," Mr Kadilo said.

In 2010, United Nations launched an automated registration system, Mobile Vital Record System (Mobile VRS), in 135 hospitals in Uganda and in more than half of 112 local governments.

Mr Kadilo, however, said inadequate sensitisation among the population is stalling their work.

Currently a guardian or parent can acquire a birth certificate within a week upon paying Shs5,000.

Mr Kadilo said the timeframe will be reduced as Nira rolls out the system to more than 117 other district service points across the country.

New system

The National Identification process was consolidated into the National Identification and Registration Authority, and since then the birth certificate register has been integrated with the National ID system.

When a child is registered for a birth certificate, a National Identification Number is allocated to him/her.

The spokesperson of the National Identification Registration Authority, Mr Gilbert Kadilo, said: "... that becomes their number for life and at the age of 16, a simple update of information is made to obtain a National ID."

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