Tanzania: 580,000 Kids in Tanga, Kili to Receive Birth Certificates

More than 580,000 under-five children in Tanga and Kilimanjaro regions are expected to receive birth certificates in the next two months under the decentralised birth registration system.

The number of regions that have already introduced the decentralised birth registration system has now increased to 18.

Acting Administrator General and Chief Executive Officer of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) Emmy Hudson said here since its introduction the system has accelerated birth registration.

"The system significantly accelerates birth registration in Tanzania Mainland after years of stagnation. It makes it easier for children and their families to access the entitlement of a birth certificate," she said.

'Now parents can receive birth certificates from the designated health facilities or through ward offices. We are committed to ensuring that no child is left behind, and have taken extra steps focusing more on gender and equity to leave no one behind.".

She acknowledged the contribution of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the government of Canada and Tigo for supporting the programme.

Hai District Administrative Secretary Upendo Wella urged parents and guardians to participate fully in the exercise.

"Getting children's birth certificates is necessary because it serves to establish the date and fact of one's birth for a whole range of purposes, like acquiring the right to vote, admission to schools and to government service, claiming the right to marry at the legally permissible age and settlement of inheritance rights.

She urged parents and guardians of children who are subject to getting birth certificates to be faithful when presenting the children's nationality status due to the importance of the documents so as to avoid unnecessary inconveniences concerning the children's nationality in the future.

According to UNICEF, the programme makes birth registration more accessible to the community. In the past registration could only take place at the district headquarters but at present registration points are established at health facilities which provide reproductive and child health services, and at the community ward executive offices in line with the government policy of decentralisation through devolution.

The declaration of health facilities and ward executive offices as registration points will enable parents in Tanga and Kilimanjaro regions to easily access more than 1,070 registration points set up compared to 13 registration points at present.

The programme also introduces a 'one step, one visit' process and adopts an innovative way of data collection.

The Government has waived fees for registration under this programme and the first copy of the certificate is given free of charge.

Through the use of SMS, data is instantly transferred and uploaded, facilitating a real-time tracking of progress, according to UNICEF.

Tanzania is implementing this programme since 2013 in partnership with UNICEF, Tigo and funding from the Canadian government.

Today this initiative is being rolled out in Tanga and Kilimanjaro, joining Ruvuma, Morogoro, Coast, Singida, Dodoma, Mara, Simiyu, Lindi, Mtwara, Geita, Shinyanga, Mbeya, Songwe, Mwanza, Iringa and Njombe regions reaching more than 4.6 million under-five children.

The new system has resulted in an overall increase of certification of under-fives in these regions from less than 10 per cent to more than 80 per cent.

The system has also helped in improving the certification rate for Tanzania Mainland from less than 13 per cent to more than 50 per cent in over seven years.

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