By Angela Nwaeze Mbaocha

Social mobilization technical committee on UNICEF program in the state, on Monday sensitized mothers on the importance of birth registration as well as breastfeeding.

Speaking during the programme at Abakaliki local government health clinic, Mrs. Chima Glory, Head of Vital Registration department, National Population Commission, emphasized the importance of birth registration.

She said that a child whose birth is being registered will automatically get his or her name, identity and nationality documented, adding that when a child is of school age, the birth certificate is one of the requirements for the child to be enrolled into any level of education.

Mrs. Chima noted birth certificate is required in all spheres of life which include the immunization age, parents obligation, employment among others

“Even during immunization, all the immunization they give are all age specific, so if a child of six months is given the immunization that is meant for a nine month old child it will be harmful to the child. That’s why we need to know the exact age of that child in other to know the intervention to be administered.

“Then to the parents, birth registration is important because they will now feel fulfilled that they gave the child his or her first right on earth. Then the mother or the father or even the caregiver will now be happy to present this certificate to this child when he or she is of school age.

” For the government, birth registration helps them to know the exact age of this child for employment, among other things.

“There are so many crimes being committed across the border, So if a child is registered at birth, and any crime is committed across the border, an impostor can easily be identified if the child birth certificate is traced down to the place he or she was given birth to or where the child was registered.

“In our office, from time to time the embassy comes to  verify the authenticity of the certificates they are presenting to them at the embassy. So if this child is not registered at birth, that will be a problem.

“Also, some people when they are of retirement age, they go to the high court to swear affidavits to falsify their age, but if a child is registered at birth there is no way you can falsify your age” she stated.

However, Mrs. Chima pointed out that court affidavits on age is no longer acceptable outside the country.  “When you go to do affidavits you will tell them that at the time this child was born there was no birth registry anywhere. But now that since 1988 when NPC was officially established as the statutory body to render this service, you cannot give that excuse again.

“Children that are 18years and above, we now give them what we call attestation letter, it’s no more the conventional birth certificate. The person had to go to high court, swear affidavits and bring two passports photographs and go to the bank and pay in some  money and come to the office for  birth attestation,” she concluded.

On her part, Mrs. Arua Ogechi, matron in charge of Abakaliki local government health clinic commended the Somtec team that went for the sensitization, stating that the issues addressed really affect the women today.

She prayed that the participants will adhere to the instructions and advice given to them.

“Your people are wonderful, even before the participants arrived you people were already here waiting to talk to them. The turn up  was also encouraging. We also have those from NPC who endeavour to register new births here in the local government clinic,” she noted.

Meanwhile, the women were also sensitized on breastfeeding mostly the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.

According to one of the participants, Mrs Nwali Cynthia, ” I have learnt a lot today and my coming for clinic today wasn’t in vain. I will be due to put to bed soon and as soon as I’m done with delivery, I will register my baby.


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