DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A BIRTH REGISTRATION SYSTEM
Registering a child’s birth is a critical first step towards safeguarding lifelong protection. Promoting children’s right to birth registration falls clearly within UNICEF’s mandate. There has been some progress, albeit small in raising birth registration levels. Between 2000 and 2010 global birth registration levels rose only slightly, from 58 per cent to 65 percent. Certain trends in the international environment provide opportunities for rethinking approaches to birth registration. Birth registration is the continuous, permanent and universal recording, within the civil registry, of the occurrence and characteristics of births in accordance with the legal requirements of a country. Birth registration is the official recording of a child’s birth by the State. It is a permanent and official record of a child’s existence. Birth registration is part of an effective civil registration system that acknowledges the person’s existence before the law, establishes family ties and tracks the major events of an individual’s life, from live birth to marriage and death (UNNICEF, 2013).
Although birth registration is almost complete in all developed countries, the lack of progress on civil registration in many developing countries means that global inequalities in birth registration are now extreme. The births of approximately 230 million children under the age of 5 have not been registered. Of these, around 85 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, 135 million in Asia (east and south Asia and the Pacific) and the remainder in the rest of the world. But does this matter in their lives? Birth registration may signify the beginning of the legal contract between the individual and the State known as citizenship. Birth registration serves as important proof of the place of birth and parentage, and while birth registration does not in itself confer citizenship upon the child, it is often essential for its acquisition based on each country’s laws. Birth registration may also be vital for confirmation of nationality6 following tumultuous events such as armed conflict and situations of state succession. The registration of births and acquisition of citizenship are distinct processes, however birth registration serves as important proof of the facts that form the basis for conferral of citizenship at birth. More specifically it establishes a legal record of where the child was born and who his or her parents are and thus whether the child can acquire citizenship on the basis of place of birth (jus soli) or descent (jus sanguinis). Children who are not registered are excluded from the benefits of citizenship in ways that vary between countries. A birth certificate may be required to obtain access to basic services such as health and education, and it can also help to protect children from situations of exploitation and violence, such as child marriage and child labour, and achieve convictions against those who have abused a child (UNNICEF, 2013).
In adulthood, birth certificates may be needed for many purposes: to obtain social security or a job in the formal sector; to buy or prove the right to inherit property; to obtain identity cards; to vote; and to obtain a passport. The lack of a birth certificate can have a serious, cumulative, negative effect on people’s life opportunities. As well as providing the individual with legal proof of identity, birth registration also plays a crucial role in the generation of vital statistics.8 Birth registration is part of national civil registration systems that also record marriages and deaths. Civil registration provides the demographic data that are needed by governments to track the size, differentials and trends of their populations. When complete and accurate, civil registration facilitates democratic governance. It enables governments to develop policies and plans for basic service delivery and social and economic development that respond to the needs of different sectors of their populations. Through these mechanisms, civil registration facilitates the access of both children and adults to protection under the law, to services and entitlements and to social and economic opportunities, and can improve their ability to exercise their civil rights (UNNICEF, 2013).
Due to the benefits that accrue from using the computer system, it can be applied to solve numerous problems. Birth rate monitoring cannot be manually achieved. An automated software system is needed to enable instant monitoring of birth rate. This is only possible when there is a web based or online system to register births. As the births are being registered, a bar chart can be used to determine the rate of birth in specific regions. To achieve this, computer programmers need to develop a software system that runs online. The benefit of the system is that it will enable those in charge of taking statistics of birth rate to get needed information easily and with minimal stress.
1.1 Background of the Study
The National Population Commission (NPC) of Nigeria was established by the federal government in 1988. It has the statutory powers to collect, analyze and disseminate population/demographic data in the country. It is also mandated to undertake demographic sample surveys, compile, collate and publish migration and civil registration statistics as well as monitor the country’s Population Policy.
The Commission was reconstituted in 2011 with a Chairman and 37 members representing each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. The Commission has a network of offices covering all the administrative tiers of the country: Federal, State and Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Founding Laws: The National Population Commission is established by S. 153 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Third Schedule, Part 1 in J S:23 sets out the composition of the Commission as follows:-
S.23. The National Population Commission shall comprise the following members:
A Chairman and One person from each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja .
Section 24 also in the Third Schedule provides for the functions as follows:-
The commission shall have power to:-
Undertake periodic enumeration of population through sample survey, censuses or otherwise.
Establish and maintain machinery for continuous and universal registration of births and deaths throughout the federation.
Advise the President on Population matters;
Publish and provide information data on population for the purpose of facilitating economic and development planning; and
Appointment and train or arrange for the appointment and training of enumerators or other staff of the Commission.
The 1999 Constitution repeated the provision of the 1979 Constitution except for the membership of the Commission which is now enlarged to “one member from each state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.” By virtue of these same provisions in the 1979 Constitution an Act was promulgated in 1989 to provide for the establishment of the National Population Commission as well as provide for the functions of the Commission. The national Population Act No.23 of 1989 can be found in Volume 11 of the new and revised laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The National Population Commission Act has two amendments.
No.31 of this amendment amongst other things provides for the appointment of a Director-General, and other principal officers of the Commission, it also establishes the Census Tribunal.
No.16 of 1999, this amendment makes the Director-General the accounting officer
Fig 1.1: Organizational chart of NPC
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The following problems were identified in the existing system:
The manual system of registering birth records does not promote effectiveness.
It is time consuming to search and retrieve birth registration information.
Accumulation of birth registration paper files.
With the manual system it is difficult to query birth registration records based on defined criteria like place of birth, mothers’ name, etc
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to design and implement a birth registration record system with the following objectives:
To develop a system that can be easily used to register births.
To develop a system that can be utilized to monitor birth rates.
To implement a system that can be used to obtain reports of birth rate
To develop a system that will aid easy updating of birth registration records
1.4 Significance of the Study
The study is significant in the following ways:
It will enable management of the hospital to properly maintain record of birth registration.
It will facilitate the easy presentation of reports pertaining to birth monitoring
The study will serve as a useful reference
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study covers design and implementation of a birth registration system using General Hospital in Ikot Ekpene as a case study.
1.6 Limitations of the Study
In carrying out the research work, some challenges were faced that limited the study such as:
Time: The time given for the completion of the research work was too short hence the researcher had speed up the research work to meet up and this has an impact on the study.
Limited Materials: few materials were found pertaining to the research area and this limited the bulk of the literature review.
Finance: The high cost of textbooks, internet browsing and transportation to different libraries to gather materials stood as a constraint to the research work.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Online: Refers a system which is connected to or delivered from the internet.
Birth: The process of childbearing
Monitor: To detect and inform about the presence of something..