Full-scale campaign for mobile birth registration starts in Kenya

Kenyan parents can now access birth certificates of their newborns on their phones thanks to a project by PLAN International and World Health Organization (WHO).

The project will save the parents the trouble of having to travel long distances to register the births, as community health workers will now use mobile phones to collect information of the new births.

The workers would later relay the information to the relevant officials to facilitate child registration.

“With this mobile process, after you have received all the birth information you just send it directly to Kwale, you don’t have to travel, and you can send as many forms as possible within a short time,” Ali Mwatsahu, a community worker in coastal Kenya, was quoted by the ItWeb as saying.

When the certificates are processed and ready for picking, the community health workers travel to the offices, pick the certificates on behalf of the parents for distribution to respective parents.
PLAN International says that almost half of children born in Kenya’s coastal town of Kwale do not have birth certificates. Lack of this crucial document usually poses problems later in the child’s life, as they cannot be registered for national exams without the document.

Kenya has a population estimate of 40 million people (2012 estimates) growing at a rate of 2.4 percent annually. 78 percent of this population lives in the rural areas, where access to social amenities like hospitals is a major challenge. The project may help mitigate the number of unregistered births in the country.

The Kenya Department of Civil Registration is seeking to have the mobile civil registration fully implemented nationwide, and plans are underway to digitise over 35 million records in preparation for mobile birth registration.

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