THE United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the National Population Commission (NPC) have signed an agreement that will ensure the digital registration of 12 million under-five children in 22 Nigerian states.
Signing the pact in Abuja, on Wednesday, June 7, the organisations said the partnership is aimed at providing a robust framework to implement a comprehensive and efficient digitalised birth registration process nationwide.
In a statement mailed by UNICEF, the parties said they were committed to promoting birth registration through the NYSC, stimulating increased demand for birth registration services in health facilities and at the community level.
“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) solidifies the commitment of the three organisations to collaborate and support the digitalised birth registration process in 22 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” part of the statement stated.
It stressed that by leveraging their existing resources and facilities, the organisations would make the programme to benefit families, parents, caregivers, communities, households, state and local government areas, in addition to at least 12 million under-five eligible children who will be registered as primary beneficiaries.
The collaboration will deploy constructive engagement with local government chairpersons, and traditional and religious leaders, leveraging their support to enhance the digitalised birth registration process.
Speaking on the collaboration, the Director General NYSC, Dogara Ahmed, Brigadier General, said the corps would deploy 850 corps members as coordinators and supervisors, to ensure effective monitoring and supervision of the birth registration process across 22 states and the FCT.
Ahmed described the collaboration as a vital initiative, adding, “Together, we will strive to achieve comprehensive data collection and availability, supporting increased birth registration coverage in our respective local government areas.”
On his part, the NPC Chairman, Nasir Isa Kwarra, said the commission would recruit ad hoc birth registrars at the ward level and ensure the availability of registration materials to the programme’s coordinators and supervisors.
” By distributing protocols, checklists, FAQs, and informational materials, we aim to engage local government chairpersons, traditional and religious leaders, and communities to promote the importance of birth registration. Together, we will generate and analyse digitalised birth registration data at the LGAs and wards, ultimately increasing birth registration coverage.”
Similarly, UNICEF will bring its expertise to support the digitalised birth registration services in the focus states.
“Our primary focus will be on providing technical assistance and evidence-based interventions,” stated its representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate.
Munduate added, “By integrating birth registration into routine health service delivery, conducting the digitalised birth registration process, and increasing awareness through state and community-level campaigns, we aim to ensure that every child has access to and benefits from the essential health and birth registration interventions they deserve.”
In 2019, The reported the NPC telling Nigerians the plan to digitalise birth registration in the country was ongoing.
In another report by this organisation that year, The ICIR exposed how NPC officials milked mothers dry over birth registration.
The also reported in 2021 how Nigerians still paid for birth certificate despite claims by the NPC that the certificate was free.