By Victor Osae IHIDERO, Bauchi
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Population Commission (NPC) has appealed to Journalists to assist Bauchi State Government’s effort to improve Birth Registration through media campaigns.
Chief of UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, Abdulai Kai Kai stated this on a one day stakeholders meeting ahead of the flag off of a massive birth registration campaign in the state.
He said that collaboration with Journalists is necessary in order to create awareness and educate people on the need for birth registration.
“Birth registration is more than just a right. It’s how societies first recognize and acknowledge a child’s identity and existence. Birth registration is also key to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations,”he said.
Kai Kai noted that children who were not registered at birth or without identification documents are often excluded from accessing education, health care and social security.
“If children are separated from their families during natural disasters, conflicts or as a result of exploitation, reuniting them is made more difficult by the lack of official documentation,”he added.
On his part, state Director National Population Commission (NPC), Musa Haruna called for an intensive media participation to educate the people especially those in the rural areas to create awareness on its importance.
He lamented the attitude of some parents towards birth registration and therefore called on government to as a matter of urgency fund vital registration activities at the federal, states, local government and ward levels instead of abandoning them to donor agencies.
In his remark, UNICEF Communication Specialist, Mallam Rabiu Musa said the meeting with Journalists on the right of the child in the context of birth registration and current birth status in Bauchi State is essential.
He added that the meeting was to solicit support from the media and appraise it’s expected contributions towards the programme being planned to address birth registration gaps in Bauchi State.
Musa stressed that the role of journalists is paramount especially in breaching the information gap and giving adequate pulicity, awareness and educating the public on the importance of Birth Registration.
Also speaking, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist Mrs Sharon Oladiji, explained the need for addressing the gaps in birth registration in Bauchi State.
She said that birth certificates help identify who the parents of child are even at death and also identify gaps and obstacles brought by ignorance and illiteracy especially among rural population.
She also identified non-motivation by registrars due to registration centres being too far from them, low morale, lack of Infrastructure and logistics as major hindrances to effective birth registration.
She added that there was also lack of appreciation of government officials at high levels and irregular stock of birth certificates.
She therefore called on governments to change their attitudes and ensure that every ward, local government area or states would assist UNICEF in seconding staff to their various centres to help in facilitating their activities.
Sharon said Birth registration, as an essential component of a country’s civil registry, also strengthens the quality of vital statistics, aiding planning and government efficiency.