This takes to 18 the total number of regions already practicing the new birth registration procedure, officials said here yesterday.
The launch of the programme at the Moshi Municipal Council premises was attended by the Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba, making birth registration more accessible to the community.
Earlier, registration could only take place at the district headquarters but now registration points are being set up in health centres providing reproductive and child health services. Registration is also conducted at community level with ward executive offices, another aspect of implementing the policy of decentralization through devolution.
The Acting Administrator General of the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) Emmy Hudson, said that the decentralized procedure significantly accelerates birth registration in the Mainland, after years of stagnation.
The procedure makes it easier for parents to demand birth certificate as the same can be processed and delivered to designated health facilities or ward executive offices.
The procedure features a ‘one step, one visit’ process and an innovative way of data collection. Fees for registration have been waived and the first copy of the certificate is given free of charge. Through the use of SMS, data is instantly transferred and uploaded, facilitating real-time tracking of progress.
This programme started being implemented in 2013 in partnership with UNICEF, Tigo and funding from Canadian authorities, the administrator noted.
Tanga and Kilimanjaro join Ruvuma, Morogoro, Coast, Singida, Dodoma, Mara, Simiyu, Lindi, Mtwara, Geita, Shinyanga, Mbeya, Songwe, Mwanza, Iringa and Njombe which are already covered and thus reaching more than 4.6m eligible children.
The new system has resulted in an overall increase of certification of under-fives in these regions from less than 10 per cent to over 80 per cent. The system has also helped in improving the certification rate for Tanzania Mainland from less than 13 per cent to more than 50 per cent in a period of seven years.
The Acting UNICEF country representative, Rene Van Dongen, said that birth registration will help to avail to more children their rights and thus be protected.
Gwen Walmsley, a minister-counsellor at the Canadian High Commission said that Canada is a proud supporter of Tanzania’s under-five birth strategy and has provided CAD$ 30.6m for its implementation in 26 regions.
Telecommunications brand Tigo is supporting the initiative through innovative mobile technology, which ensures that birth registration data is uploaded and sent to a central database in real time.
In addition, Tigo is also providing 1,350 smartphones worth 169m/- and free SMS to support the initiative, officials affirmed.