The Chairman of the National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa kwarra, has disclosed that the Commission has developed an application to ensure digital registration of births and deaths in the country.
The app is known as VitalReg Pro and functions as a data collection and reporting platform for online and offline birth and death registration. He noted that the Commission was reviewing the current Births and Deaths Compulsory Act 1992 to accommodate the emerging technologies within the civil registration and vital statistics systems.
He said this during a press briefing for the 2022 Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day held at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
In his remarks, he said, “As part of this integration and digitalization efforts, the Commission has developed the VitalReg Pro platform, a data collection and reporting mobile application software built for the on-line and offline births and deaths registration.
“The software application was employed by the over 400 volunteers acting as sub-registrars who used their android phones to register births at the households, communities and health fixed posts during the birth registration and Supplemental Immunization Activities.”
Commenting on the significance of the Africa Civil and Vital Statistics (CVRS) Day celebration, the NPC boss explained that “the purpose of the celebration is to increase public awareness on the importance of timely registration of vital events, particularly births and deaths, through well-functioning civil registration systems.”
He further explained: “The CRVS Day celebration provides us an opportunity for a reflection on the legal identity from birth to death of all persons and the realization of key human and civil rights, including the right to participate in society and economy and the right to access social services.
“These can only be attainable when the rights and civil liberties are founded and strengthened by an efficient and effective civil registration and vital statistics systems that are inclusive, permanent, continuous, compulsory and confidential in nature.
“It should be noted that this year’s celebration of the CRVS day will come before the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
“It is an occasion to voice support for national and regional commitments to strengthen such systems and to increase stakeholder coordination to maximize available resources in that area.
“In addition, it is the day when African countries, which include Nigeria reaffirm their commitment to taking leadership and ownership in strengthening their civil registration and vital statistics systems.
“We join the rest of Africa to celebrate this 4th Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day with the theme: Harnessing coordination, country leadership and ownership to strengthen integrated civil registration and vital statistics systems: vehicle for #countingEveryone.”
He assured that the NPC which has the statutory mandate to establish a universal and compulsory system of registration of vital events in the country would not rest on its laurels in providing leadership for the performance of the responsibility.
Kwarra revealed that the Commission would transform from manual to wholly digitization and automation of the CVRS system in Nigeria.
He said the Commission would also inaugurate the CRVS Coordination Committee in September 2022, adding that the membership of the Committee would be drawn from numerous partners and CRVS entities especially from the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice, Women Affairs, the National Identity Management Commission, National Bureau of Statistics, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other UN agencies like UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA and IOM – to strengthen and improve high-level coordination and promote the use of data generated through the CRVS system for national development and planning.
This initiative, he said, “is to further support appropriate institutional and human infrastructure and operational procedures to capture vital statistics diverse events in Nigeria, ensure commitments and a sustained national, international, financial and political investment for civil registration within the CRVS systems.”
Mrs. Sharon Oladiji, who spoke on behalf of Chief, Child Protection, UNICEF, Nigeria, pointed out that civil registration is a government responsibility, adding that without the necessary senior government leadership and drive towards universal registration, the digital transformation of CRVS would not succeed.
Oladiji pledged UNICEF’s support to ensure a robust and efficient (ministerial and high-level) CRVS National Coordination Committee is inaugurated, to leverage partnerships and improve civil registration process in the country.
As part of UNICEF’s support, she said: “UNICEF in collaboration with the Commission, will in addition support an enabling legal and policy environment for birth registration within Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System.
“We will work to strengthen the legal and policy framework including through harmonization of birth registration and certification processes and services between the NPC, the Local Government Areas and other civil registration agencies.
“We believe a revised births and deaths registration legal framework will evolve before the end of the year.”
She underscored the need for the automation of CRVS in Nigeria, adding that “The use of modern and automated technology is key for the realization of an efficient and effective civil registration and vital statistics system in any country.”