KAKATA-The United Nations Children’s Fund Liberia’s Country Representative has expressed her commitment to the Liberian government and other donor partners including the Swedish and French governments for their continuous leadership role in ensuring the significant contribution toward the civil registration, particularly in birth and death registrations.
Madam Laila Gad said the UNICEF Liberia country office would also work with the Liberian government and other international partners in ensuring continuous support for civil registration and vital statistics in Liberia.
The Liberia News Agency quoting a proxy for the Country Representative of UNICEF, Madam Gad, an Child Protection Officer of UNICEF Liberia Programme Section, Ms. Elizabeth Kendor – Okai said Unicef will at all times work along with the Liberian government and other international partners to ensure that the issue Civil Registration takes center stage in Liberia.
She made the statement today in Kakata at a program marking the celebration of African Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day.
Speaking further, the UNICEF Country Representative because of the support, has allowed UNICEF to accelerate its support to birth registration since the 2019 ground-breaking year, which has an annual dramatic increase in birth registration from 182,770 in 2019 to 244, 666 in 2020 and then 294,635 in 2021.
She said in addition, the demographic health survey has also shown significant progress where the results depict that 66 percent of children under the age of five are registered compared to, 25 percent in 2013.
“As a result of the concerted efforts, the decentralization of the birth registration services to all 15 counties with additional 42 birth registration centers have established in health facilities”, Madam Gad also said.
“West and Central Africa currently have the lowest birth registration rates in the world, with only 45 percent of an estimated 47 million children under five years of age registered while the children under one year of age are even lower, standing at 43 percent to ten million children”, Madam Gad stated.
She however said significant gains have been made as it is imperative that Liberia invest substantial public resources in the transformation of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems to make them more technically and financially accessible to the population in order to increase coverage of birth registration.
In giving a background earlier during the program, the Assistant Minister for Vital Statistics, Mr. Chea Sanford Wesseh said recounted the importance of vital statistics to the growth and development of Liberia.
Assistant Minister Wesseh said there could be no accurate developmental agenda set forth by the national government without any vital statistics.
“Birth certificate is the very first official document for anyone or citizen born recognized by the government and therefore is also very important parents to take full advantage of the birth registration process of the children whenever they give birth to them”, Assistant Minister Wesseh also stated.
Also speaking, the County Coordinator of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr. Kingsoreso Wuo called on youth across the country to take seriously the issue of civil registration very serious.
Mr. Wuo said there are too many issues in the country that Liberian youth don’t attach and seriousness and as in the instant case of vital statistics, Liberian youths only get serious whenever they travel opportunities including DV.
He also said many times young people only take seriously the issue of a death certificate only when someone including their parents dies before obtaining it.
He however used the occasion to call on the national government to provide more public education and education on the significance of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics throughout in Liberia.
For her part, the speaker of the Children’s Forum, Louis Kolleh called on the national government to place more emphasis on the development of young people.
Ms. Kolleh said the national government in any national undertaking does not prioritize children and as such, “we are left to fend for ourselves in the absence of parental care”.
Meanwhile, a representative of UNFPA Liberia has assured his organization of full support towards the civil registration and vital statistics process in Liberia.
Mr. Alfred Sayon said the task to improve the CRVS in Liberia is the beginning process occasioned by the celebration of African Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day in Kakata.
He revealed that UNFPA Liberia is also working assiduously with the Liberian government and other partners for the conduct of the national population and housing census later this year.
He then used the occasion to thank UNICEF Liberia, international partners, and the Liberian government for organizing such a befitting program marking the celebration of Africa Registration and Vital Statistics Day.
In the background to the celebration of Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day, the African Union Executive Council during their 32nd Ordinary Session in January 2018 declared August 10 of each year to be African Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day, and advised African Union member States to serve the day.
The civil registration and vital statistics systems confer legal identity to individuals and inform good governance, protecting human rights and creating an inclusive society.
Thousands of Liberians live without the rights, protections, and benefits afforded by having a legal identity and die without having any proof of existence.
The acquisition of a birth certificate and national card offers legal protection, and fulfillment of rights, and ensures that every individual is counted.
This year’s celebration was held under the theme; “Harnessing coordination, country leadership and ownership to strengthen integrated civil registration and vital statistics systems: a vehicle for counting everyone”.
The Proclamation by the President of Liberia, His Excellency, Mr. Solomon Gueh of the Youth Crime Watch of Liberia read by Dr. George Manneh Weah.