Digital birth registration for Botswana

Botswana has officially launched digital registration services in four of the country’s hospital, in a bid to get more births registered, and eliminate the delays in the submission of birth and death certificates.

Botswana’s Labour and Home Affairs ministry launched the computerized registration booths, after a 2009 Welfare Study in Botswana findings showed that only 72 percent of children in the country are registered at birth.

This launch comes as part of Botswana’s ‘Don’t let your child be a nobody, Register Your Child Today’ Campaign, which seeks to have the children who are yet to be registered captured in the country’s birth records.

“This launch of this service comes about in recognition by government of the value of births and deaths registration and the need to register each and every birth and death that occurs,” said Edwin Batshu, Labour and Home Affairs minister.

He also added that birth certificates serve as protection against human and civil rights, as it is legal proof of a child’s identity.

“One of the challenges facing my ministry is the unavailability of timely information to inform evidence based health policy formulation, planning and programming,” deputy secretary in the Ministry of Health Shannaz El-halabi said at the launch.

Botswana’s birth and death registration services have for a long time experienced problems, including delays and sometimes loss of data.

The delays in getting birth and death certificates have in many occasions discouraged citizens from participating in the exercise, making many births and deaths going unrecorded.

Considering that births and deaths certificates are vital for any population for decision making by governments and other stake holders, Botswana’s government intends to use technology to get clear facts and figures, to guide them in making these decisions.

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