The Birth and Death Registration Secretariat in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has received transport and IT equipment from Plan International-Sierra Leone and the United Nations Fund for Children (Unicef).
The donation according to the donors is to further enhance the work of the Secretariat, which has been in dire need of such support for a very long time now.
Plan Sierra Leone’s, Chief of Party, Sybil Bailor on behalf of the Plan global family said registration of births is no more a privilege, but a right for citizens. She explained that Plan’s vision is of a world in which all children realize their full potentials in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity. She explained that in order to achieve this vision, Plan strives to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of deprived children in developing countries through a process that unites people across cultures and adds meaning to their lives.
Madam Bailor noted that birth registration provides a very vital foundation to national strategic planning and ultimately, global cooperation.
In May last year, Plan Sierra Leone provided project support including 3 Toyota Land Cruisers, computers and furniture to the National Births and deaths Secretariat, with funds from Human Dignity Foundation in Ireland, for the promotion of births registration in three districts in Sierra Leone, she said.
The donation of another Toyota Land Cruiser and the rehabilitation of an ICT Center, the Plan Chief of Party maintained, is to further improve the registration of births and deaths in the country, noting that there are about 51 million children globally who remain vulnerable because their births have not been registered.
Unregistered children, she said, can be easily denied their rights to protection as well as other essential social services, which she said is unacceptable in today’s world.
Presenting the 13 motorbikes which will be allocated to District Registrars, the Unicef Country Representative in Sierra Leone, Roeland Monasch said the Convention on the Rights of a Child (CRC) enshrines birth registration as a right of children that must be observed and respected without discrimination.
He however noted that Sierra Leone has recorded “remarkable increase” in the percentage of children that are registered increasing from 50% in 2005 to close to 80% in recent years, attributing this upward move largely to the free health care initiative.
Monasch disclosed that UNICEF is happy to be a member of the National Task Force for Births and Deaths which was established in 2013 to guide policy change, awareness building and education, and improving record keeping of births and deaths registrations.
Receiving the keys to the vehicle and motorbikes, the Minister for Health and Sanitation, Miatta Kargbo expressed delight that the establishment of the births and deaths task force is yielding good fruits as a foundation for proper strategic planning for present and future generations.
She said for a long time the births and deaths Secretariat has been without adequate logistical support to make it fully functional to meet the present challenges of births and deaths registrations and other related record keeping, stressing that every child must be counted in the country.
Madam Kargbo appealed to the staff of the Secretariat to judiciously utilize the transport and IT equipment in order to achieve the desired objectives of births and deaths record keeping.
By Ade Campbell
Tuesday June10, 2014