The Birth and Deaths Department of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has published staggering figures of 12,767 deaths of all ages in 2012 as compared to 10,824 in 2011 across the country according to provisional results provided by field offices.
This shows an increase of nearly 2,000 (1,943) deaths over the 2011 figures.
According to the report a total of 147,958 live births were recorded, of which 75,014 were males and 72,917 were females, indicating that there were 2,187 more male children born than females. This is seen as an important indicator for the population growth, which had hitherto shown that there were more females than males in Sierra Leone.
Still births, or children born dead, registered a total of 2,137 of which 1,185 were males and 952 were female. Again this shows that 233 more male children died at birth than females.
In the case of deaths of all ages the total of 12,767 were registered, of which 7,133 were male and 5,634 were female. This also indicates that 1,499 more men died than women.
It cannot be justifiable ascertained whether nature was at work in Sierra Leone by letting more male children be born while also letting more men die. The question is that is this nature’s way of cancelling out or stabilizing the gender balance in the population’s growth?
It should be noted however that these figures are not 100% accurate because there are gaps in the registration figures mainly up country where in a lot of villages and communities outside the main cities and towns there are no registrars and no reports of births and deaths are recorded. There however has been an improvement over last year’s reports.
According to the Deputy Chief Registrar JWS Kargbo the year 2012 has not received the attention needed for an efficient functioning of the institution in the areas of adequate budget, logistics, trained staff and the establishment of a data base and supply of computers and rehabilitation and maintenance of records.
UNICEF he said has been very instrumental in its intervention to draft a national policy on civil registration and review the existing birth and deaths registration Act No. 11 of 1983 and they also recommended a three year strategic plan.
He said Plan Sierra Leone had also offered to pay 35% cost of constructing a national headquarters for births and deaths on condition that government provides two or three plots of land. Plan Sierra Leone also promises to train over 30 birth and deaths staff from Port Loko, Kailahun and Western Area.
By Saidu Bah