Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Mary Makondo made the statement recently during the launch of the decentralized birth registration system in Tabora Region.
The PS wanted authorities and the public to spread awareness on this so as to ensure that every child who is born within the country’s borders as long as they meet all the required conditions set by the government are registered.
She noted that there were some people who think that only children whose parents are Tanzania nationals, are the ones with the rights to be registered, but the truth is that birth identity was for every child born within the country’s borders and living legally here.
“Birth certificate is a right for every child born in Tanzania, be it a national or non-citizen. So we have to promote this and make sure that we do not leave no child behind this important national initiative which will provide the government with accurate data and thus make it simple to plan for its people,” she said.
She noted that since the gender-responsive simplified childbirth registration system commenced in 2013, a total of 7.5 million children under the age of five have been registered and given birth registration certificates across 23 regions in mainland, increasing the documentation and provision of certificates to children from 13 percent to the current 65 per cent.
Implemented by the government in collaboration with partners such as UNICEF, Tigo and the Canadian government, the programme aims to reach all under-five children across the country.
Makondo asserted that the government had waived fees for registration under this programme and the first copy of the certificate is given free of charge. The programme introduces a ‘one step, one visit’ process and adapts an innovative way of data collection. Through the use of SMS, data will be instantly transferred and uploaded, facilitating a real-time tracking of progress.
“The system makes birth registration more accessible to the community. Before this system was introduced, registration could only take place at the district headquarter town, now registration points are established at health facilities, which provide reproductive and child health services, and at the community ward executive offices in line with the government policy of decentralization through devolution,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) Angela Anatory said the strategy has been rolled out in 22 regions including Mwanza, Mbeya, Iringa, Njombe, Songwe, Geita, Shinyanga, Lindi, Mtwara, Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Rukwa, Morogoro, Coast, Mara, Dodoma, Singida, Arusha, Manyara, Tanga and Katavi.
UNICEF country representative Shalini Bahuguna said the birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child for sustainable planning and development.
She noted that right from the inception of the design of the innovative birth registration system, UNICEF has been working closely with the government in implementing it seamlessly one region at a time with the aim of covering the entire country by 2023.
Helen Fytche, head of cooperation and senior director (Development) at the High Commission of Canada in Tanzania said Canada is proud to be providing over CAD30 million in support of Tanzania’s innovative under-five birth registration system.
Tigo Tanzania acting executive director Innocent Rwetabura said; “As a telecom that champions digital lifestyle in Tanzania, we are supporting this noble initiative in partnership with RITA, Global Affairs Canada and UNICEF, and we are committed to improve access of birth certificates for the under-five children in Tanzania.”