THE United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, observed Monday in Awka that about 57% of Nigerian children under five years of age do not have birth certificates.
Speaking during the training of 75 health workers from selected health facilities in the 21 local government areas of Anambra State, the child protection specialist in charge of UNICEF Zone A Field office, Enugu, Mr. Victor Atuchukwu said it is the right of every child to have a birth certificate, regretting that many parents do not consider it important.
He urged the health workers to ensure that all babies born in their areas of coverage were registered at birth as that would assist in social and economic planning in the country.
Although he identified lack of adequate manpower as contributing to the problem, Atuchulwu observed that without birth certificate, time would come when the child would have the need to present a birth certificate only to be discovered that he or she has no official record of full names, place of birth and other vital information.
He said that at such a time, their access to basic needs would be under threat, regretting that most of the local government areas in the state record below average in birth registration.
Director of the NPC in Anambra State, Mr. Joachim Ulasi who admitted that the Commission does not have enough man power for birth registration, said that the state had only148 registration centers in the 181 communities for over 4000 health facilities in the state.
He said: “We just have 148 registration centres, comprising 21 controllers who are deputy chief registrars for the 21 local government areas. If they are removed from the 148, we are left with 127, which are located in health facilities throughout Anambra State. This number is not enough. We have 181 autonomous communities and we need at least one centre in each community while the large communities should have two or more