Delegates from 10 African countries have been in Uganda to learn the best practices on the use Mobile Vital Record System (MVRS), a mechanism to store data on births and deaths. Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) working with Uganda Telecom and the UNICEF implemented the MVRS in 2011 to ease the process of civil registration when it became unclear whether all estimated 1.5 million births each year are documented.
Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) working with Uganda Telecom and the UNICEF implemented the MVRS in 2011 to ease the process of civil registration when it became unclear whether all estimated 1.5 million births each year are documented.
African countries on the study tours include Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, Burkina Faso and Mozambique among others.
URBS Registrar General Bemanya Twebaze says the data recorded through MVRS will help in implementing policies such as health and education in addition to acting as a barometer to measure the level of poverty, by evaluating how economic resources are distributed across the population.
Twebaze explained that the MVRS system will be stationed at every health centre and in future at local administration offices to cater for children not born in hospitals. He said the MVRS was initiated to revitalize the civil registration system which broke down.
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Twebaze is optimistic that the system will ensure that every individual in the country is given a legal identity at birth as well as recording deaths. Twebaze adds that the new process will inform National Planning through censuses, surveys, segregation and monitoring trends for planning purposes.
Birth and death registration in Uganda falls under the Birth and Death Registration Act of 1973. The Act, though archaic makes registration of births and deaths compulsory for every born Ugandan citizen. Prior to the Act, births and deaths were determined through the registration ordinance which did not require Africans to register.
Twebaze says this law meant that a number of children born in Uganda were not legally recognized and therefore deprived of their right of legal existence.
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The 1995 Constitution later made it compulsory to register all births and deaths. It is expected that the new technology will help upgrade the number of births and deaths as they happen.
While ushering in a 4-day Pan African Study tour on Uganda’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics on Monday, Justice Minister Kahinda Otafiire observed that once the process becomes functional in all registration centres it will also aid in the issuance of national identity cards. He explained that lack of reliable records of births had posed a challenge during the recent exercise of issuing national identity cards.
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In a pilot exercise that concluded on August 23, at least 1,200 people in 24 parishes of Kampala Central Division got National Identity Cards.