Health Minister Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale
Birth Certificate Awareness Gains Momentum
By Chris Nyenapee, LINA Grand Gedeh County Correspondent
ZWEDRU CITY, March 22 (LINA) - The Registrar of Birth and Death Certificates at the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital in Zwedru, Mr. Joseph N. Dwuye, has disclosed that an outreach program is underway in all the six health districts for on-the-spot birth registration.
He said the outreach team has been authorized to monitor and check the ledgers of the 52 general town chiefs for registration of births.
Mr. Dwuye, however, clarified that only children born in Liberia, regardless of parents’ nationalities, are to benefit from the registration and not those born elsewhere, even if their parents are Liberians.
Mr. Dwuye called for collaboration between the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare and Internal Affairs to ensure the success of the ongoing birth registration.
The birth certificates are for travel, school-age placement, inheritance rights, nationality and other benefits, he explained.
Mr. Dwuye told the Liberia News Agency recently that before the Liberian civil crisis, research showed that only five percent of births in urban areas were registered, while the rural areas accounted for only three per cent.
He said this alarming pre-war record caught the attention of government, resulting to the official launch of the birth registration program.
Those being registered are from zero to thirteen years, he said, noting that the process has been highly embraced by all Liberians and foreign residents.
Dwuye disclosed that from September 2010 to July 2012, some 25,000 births were recorded and certificates issued by the County Health Services in Grand Gedeh County.
Since then, there has been a decline in birth registration, a development he attributed to lack of awareness about the process among members of the public, about the UNICEF-supported program.
Mr. Dwuye emphasized that when a child is registered early, the Liberian government shoulders the cost of US$25 per child through UNICEF support.