By Hadiza Musa Yusuf
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for concerted efforts to improve birth registration coverage in Nigeria.
In a speech delivered at a media dialogue on birth registration on Tuesday in Kano State, UNICEF Chief of Field Office Rahama Rihood Farah said that millions of Nigerian children are being deprived of their basic rights due to the low birth registration rate in the country.
Mr. Farah noted that only 54.6% of children under five in Kano State have their births registered, compared to 57.3% at the national level.
He attributed the low birth registration rate in Nigeria to a number of factors, including inadequate awareness, lack of access to registration centers, and financial constraints.
Farah urged the media to play a role in promoting birth registration by raising awareness of its importance and educating the public about the registration process.
He also called on the government to do more to make birth registration easier and more accessible for families.
“Birth registration is a fundamental right for every child,” Farah said.
“It gives children a name, a nationality, and a legal identity. It also allows them to access essential services such as education, healthcare, and social protection. We need to work together to ensure that every child in Nigeria has their birth registered and has a birth certificate.
“Because more needs to be done to address the root causes of the low birth registration rate, such as poverty and lack of education,” he added.
While speaking, the state director of the National population commission (NPC), Isma’il Alhassan, said alot of progress has been made in Kano when compared to previous years.
According to the director, UNICEF is supporting the state government to improve birth registration coverage through a number of initiatives, including integrating birth registration into immunization services and using digital technology to facilitate registration.
He reiterated that people should be educated about the birth registration process, stating that birth registration is free and different from the hospital’s birth certificate issuance.
“Birth registration is free, but attestation is not. Attestation is for people over 17years who have never registered their births,” he said
The media dialogue was organized by National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with UNICEF and NPC.