Nigerian government is planning to dump the use of sworn affidavit in place of birth certificates, an official of the National Population Commission (NPC) has disclosed.
Mr. Imo Uche dropped this hint Monday during a UNICEF/NOA Social Mobilisation Technical Committee (SOMTEC) outreach at Umuode-Nsulu Autonomous Community, Isiala North Local Government Area of Abia State.
Uche said the use of sworn affidavit in place of birth certificate would be dropped in the near future to check its excessiveness.
The NPC official, who was a resource person during the outreach, which is aimed at sensitising women to embrace Essential Family Practices (EFPs) and had over 150 women participants, said lack of birth certificates deprives the nation of accurate planning and those affected, from benefitting in several social programmes.
He noted that without a birth certificate, individuals face challenges going to schools, seeing a doctor, accessing social protection and participating in public life.
“The inability of some parents to register the birth of their child deprives such child of an identity and the crucial birth certificate which is literally a child’s passport to benefit from social programmes, including education and welfare programmes, and lays the child bare to trafficking, child labour, or other forms of abuse,” said Uche.
“When the government knows how many children are born, how many of them die and the principal causes of their death, it will know better where to prioritise health investments,” Uche added, saying that lack of such records deny governments the ability to track patterns in health and infant mortality.
Records show that globally, about 200 million children do not have their births registered and about 80 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, do not have well-functioning civil registration systems to document births and deaths.
Earlier in her remarks, Abia State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Mrs Ngozi Uduma, explained that adherence to EFPs would help to build a healthy Nigerian society.
Mrs. Uduma listed EFPs to include routine immunisation, focused antenatal care, exclusive breastfeeding on demand, balanced diet (containing all the four food groups) and effective hand washing, among others.
Leader of Umuode women, Oriaku Blessing Egbu, described the programme as beneficial and assured that they would embrace the EFPs.
“We are happy for this programme and we must commend the UNICEF and NOA for this wonderful sensitization programme. I am making this promise on behalf of Umuode women to put into practice, all that we were taught about Essential Family Practices,” Mrs Egbu promised.