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Traditional leaders set to issue birth records

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

GOVERNMENT has confirmed plans to empower traditional leaders to issue birth records to improve the process of acquiring civil registry documents.

Access to birth records has been a challenge for mothers who deliver at home with only health institutions responsible for issuing the important documents.

A Review and Validation of the Comprehensive Report on Zimbabwe‘s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Victoria Falls this Tuesday saw government confirming plans to capacitate traditional leaders to issue birth records.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Dr Gerald Gwinji said, ‘‘Plans are also underway to build the capacity of traditional leaders to actively notify births and deaths that occur in their communities. You recognize that when a child is born in a hospital and is given a birth record; it is that birth certificate that is used to acquire a birth certificate. We are now doing the same for traditional leaders, a form that is similar exactly to the same that is issued in the hospital but given a different numerical role is now being given to chiefs and headmen so that they do record that birth and present that birth record when that child wants to acquire a birth certificate.’’

The Zimbabwean government has made significant strides in easing the process of acquiring civil documents through the decentralization of services as alluded to by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF Zimbabwe Child Protection Manager Dr Nyasha Mayanga noted, ‘‘UNICEF recognises the Government of Zimbabwe’s commitment toward strengthening its Civil Registration and Vital Statistics system. The political will and support for the CRVS systems improvement agenda have been evident throughout the assessment process and we are certain this commitment will continue to post the assessment and planning phases. We are in the process of delivering ICT supplies to the Civil Registration Department. The full consignment of the ICT equipment consists of desktop computers, printers, solar equipment, and other accessories.’’

The Review and Validation of the Comprehensive Report on Zimbabwe’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics comes after the Second Conference of African Responsible for Civil Registrations held in South Africa in 2012, which made specific recommendations for African countries to urgently strengthen existing systems on the basis of the findings of the assessments.

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