By Esther Nworie
United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) and National Population Commission (NPC), Ebonyi State, Monday expressed worry over low birth registration in the state, an act which can undermine the future of the children and called on stakeholders to join the campaign on birth registration.
This was made known during a sensitization and advocacy campaign on birth registration in the communities in the state, a programme organized by the NPC with support from UNICEF.
The campaign was held at Okpuitumo, Izzi, Abakaliki Local Government Area of the State and the NCDC Covid-19 pandemic protocol was strictly observed.
The event was organized in collaboration with National Orientation Agency and State Ministry of Women Affairs
The program will take place across the 13 Local Government Areas of the State.
They called on stakeholders in the council areas to support the organizations in reaching out to the grassroots on the need to register their children.
Speaking to the people at the program, the state Director of National Population Commission, Chief Edward Ogbu, represented UNICEF at the program, and noted that the state was recording 45 percent in birth registration.
He stressed the need for people to register childbirths and deaths of their loved ones.
“Our mission is to visit all the 13 Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State and we are starting with Abakaliki Local Government.”
“We are here to inform the people on the need to register birth in these LGAs because birth certificate is of immense importance. By it you give a child his/her name, parentage, and nationality. Therefore the child begins to exist in the official sense of it. A child that is not registered does not have any legal backing.”
“Another one is to tell the people on the need to register death. Any death that occurred within the community should be registered, in doing that we should know the cause of the death and that may help government to plan for intervention on how to stop such occurrence.
“We found out that Ebonyi state is lagging behind in the matters of birth registration and that is why our sponsor, UNICEF is very interested in the affairs of children. So they have asked us to bring this message to the grassroots.”
“We have chosen gatekeepers in the communities, the local government chairmen, traditional rulers, town union leaders, women leaders and so on. They are our people in the grassroots we have come to address.”
“Another thing is that Covid-19 pandemic is ravaging the world today, it has of course entered Ebonyi state. Our mission also is to sensitize the people on how to keep safe to avoid contracting the virus and spreading it further.”
While Ogbu expressed satisfaction on the turn out of the stakeholders, he called on them to avail themselves of the opportunity given to them, that their offices are located all over the local governments with various registration centres.
“The turn up by the gate keepers showed that they people are willing to cooperate, they have assured us of that.”
“NPC have offices in all the local governments in the state and four to five registration centres also. Our people need to avail themselves of these opportunities.”
“People don’t come to register their children at these centres but our offices now make use of antenatal period to get to pregnant mothers and nursing mothers during immunization.”
“We are only interested in 0- 5 years but we are not mindful of 6-17 years also. Ebonyi is under 45 percent coverage, so we still have about 55 percent to go” he said.