Birth Registration: Government, EU To Boost Services, Public Demand

A European Union-sponsored project was launched in Yaounde on April 18, 2019.

The collection of vital statistics in Cameroon – especially birth registration - is set to get a major boost following the launch in Yaounde on April 18, 2019 by the National Civil Status Office, BUNEC, of the Project to Improve Civil Status System in Cameroon for Active Citizenship, PASECA. The event took place in the presence of BUNEC General Manager, Alexandre Marie Yomo and Benedikt Madl, representing the European Union Delegation in Cameroon. The occasion was also an opportunity for BUNEC to train mayors on issuing birth certificates. The new project was informed by the fact that only 66.1 per cent of children in the country were registered in 2014.

The least performing regions were East, 58.2 per cent; Far North, 42.1 per cent and South West, 55.6 per cent. There is therefore urgent need to do something about the situation, given that ownership of a birth certificate is evidence of a child’s existence and is the prerequisite for obtaining citizenship. It also entitles the child to various rights. The European Union is financing PASECA for three years at the cost of 910 million FCFA. “The project seeks to raise the level of birth registration.

It will enable government to offer better social services as well as manage the population,” explained Benedikt Madl, who lauded government’s efforts in reforming civil status. “We will step up communication, awareness-raising on the importance of civil status, train civil status officers and secretaries; as well as sensitise public health and judicial staff,”

Alexandre Marie Yomo noted. Marie Yomo is also President of the PASECA Management Committee. PASECA is divided into three phases – improving civil status services, public demand for services and monitoring. Platforms for collaboration between BUNEC headquarters and the 10 regional offices will also be put in place. The launch of PASECA saw the signing of the subvention granting 910 million FCFA to finance activities and the installation of members of the project’s management committee. According to the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, MICS report and a National Institute of Statistics survey, the level of birth registration in the country stood at 66.1 per cent; while Douala had 91.4 per cent and Yaounde, 87.6 per cent.

The situation in the 10 regions was as follows: Adamawa, 69.8 per cent; Centre (excluding Yaounde), 81 per cent; East, 58.2 per cent; Far North, 42.1 per cent; Littoral (excluding Douala), 84.4 per cent; North, 60.9 per cent; North West, 77.1 per cent; West, 83.1 per cent; South, 62.6 per cent; and South West, 55.6 per cent. MICS household surveys are implemented simultaneously by countries across the globe under the programme developed by the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF. The objective is to provide internationally comparable and statistically rigorous data on the situation of children and women.

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