By Tichaona Kurewa
THE Civil Registry Department has warned health centres against with-holding birth confirmation records for whatever reason.
The clarion call from the Civil Registry Department comes following tangible reports that health centres were withholding birth confirmation records over non-payment of hospital bills.
Registrar General Henry Machiri told ZBC News in Victoria Falls recently that birth records were issued to health centres for free and members of the public should not be charged or denied the document for non-payment of hospital bills.
“For births which occur in hospitals or clinics, we provide birth confirmation records which is a proof that a birth has occurred, but we have been having cases where the medical institutions hold that birth confirmation record because they are saying the mother needs to settle the hospital bill. That is unacceptable and should not happen.
“That document is given to the mother free of charge because as a ministerial department, we pay for the printing of that document and give it to the medical institution for free, so they should not make parents pay for that document or they should not hold it as a way to have their bill cleared. By withholding, it they are depriving that child of the right to birth registration.
“Let us give these mothers their documents and find other means of making them settle outstanding bills. Let us not use the birth confirmation record as a tool to make them pay for the bills,” he said.
The clarification on the matter has been welcomed by citizens.
“This is good, hospital bills and birth confirmation records are not related. This will ensure that all children have birth certificates on time as they are a basic human right that should not be denied to anyone,” said a local who spoke to ZBC News.
In line with the mantra, ‘leaving no one and no place behind’, the government is escalating efforts to ease the acquisition of civil documents by Zimbabweans, through the decentralisation of civil registry offices and procurement of modern equipment.