A mobile application designed to make birth registration of children smart, quick and reliable has been successfully developed in Ghana. The app received official recognition at the 71st annual session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
The app, developed by Millicom’s mobile service in Ghana, Tigo, UNICEF Ghana and the country’s Births and Deaths Registry, was featured in a video and presentation to the audience, including Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama, Millicom CEO Mr. Mauricio Ramos, donors and UN officials at an event supported by the ‘Every Woman Every Child’ movement.
The ‘Every Woman Every Child’ movement intends to mobilise international and national action by governments, the UN, the private sector and civil society to address health challenges facing women, children and adolescents. The movement puts into action the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, with the aim to end preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within one generation.
IT News Africa quotes President Mahama as saying a lack of birth registration prevents his country from knowing how many children to register for school and vaccines. “A quick dissemination of health information through mobile apps will reach more people in more areas, especially women. We can empower people widely by giving them access to education and resources – human development opportunities for all. We can do more to end hunger. Especially with mobile innovation that will push attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.”
UNICEF Ghana representative, Susan Namondo Ngongi, says birth registration is more than just a right. “It is how a society first recognises and acknowledges a child’s identity and existence. Birth registration is also key to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations.”
The automated birth registration system is an Android App which has been customised for the Tigo Network only, and it operates in both offline and online mode. The tablets use the mobile app to collect data related to the child’s name, gender, date of birth and other family details, which are then sent to the central database managed by the Births and Deaths Registry.
Once received, the data is stored and an automated response is sent to the Births and Deaths Registry official in the field, confirming that a certificate can be issued. Whereas data collected though the paper-based system takes six months to be registered in the central system, the mobile registration process achieves this in less than two minutes.
According to analysis done by Births and Deaths Registry, UNICEF and Tigo, at the end of a one year pilot program, over 670,800 new births will be registered on the new system by the end of May 2017. This would increase Ghana’s birth registration rate to 75%, from the previous 65%.