UNICEF lauds Bangladesh’ breakthrough to accelerate universal birth registration

UNICEF has commended the memorandum of understanding signed between the Office of the Registrar General, Local Government Division, and the Directorate General of Health Services to accelerate universal birth registration in Bangladesh.


Despite progress in recent years, the percentage of children with official birth registrations remains low in Bangladesh with only 56 per cent of births registered for children under five years of age, said the UN agency on Sunday.


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This means that nearly one in two children do not have a birth certificate. On the other hand, routine immunization of children under five in Bangladesh is high at over 90 percent.


The agreement signed on Sunday paves the way for an integrated approach where children will automatically have their birth registered, if they were not registered at birth, when they receive their first routine immunization.


“Registration at birth is a fundamental right of every child. I applaud the government of Bangladesh for taking this essential and holistic initiative, which, once implemented, will benefit millions of children in Bangladesh,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.


A birth certificate is a critical stepping-stone towards claiming all other rights, including nationality, education, healthcare and protection.


Registration within 45 days of birth is free and mandatory in Bangladesh. However, many parents are unfamiliar with or overwhelmed by the process of registering the birth of their child.


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“Birth is an important event in a person’s life. Through this MoU signed today, the process of birth registration will be made faster, easier and more accurate. This will play an important role in the protection of child rights as well as ensuring the birth registration of every person, irrespective of identity,” said Md. Rashidul Hassan, Registrar General (Additional Secretary), Office of the Registrar General, Local Government Division.


With UNICEF’s technical support, the integration of birth registration and health system databases will be implemented with the aim to reach the Sustainable Development Goals target of universal birth registration for children under five by 2030.


UNICEF has supported the Local Government Division’s efforts to improve birth registration services in Bangladesh since 2001 with online birth registration initiated in 2010.


Source: United News of Bangladesh