Improving Birth Registration Using the Health System: A Case Study from Somali Region of Ethiopia
Archives of Current Research International, Volume 22, Issue 6,
Birth registration is the process by which the event and characteristics of a child’s birth are recorded in a country’s civil registry. Ethiopia has one of the lowest levels of civil registration in general globally, and of birth registration in particular with only 3 per cent of children under the age 5 registered with civil authorities. In Somali Region of Ethiopia, only 1% of children under 5 have their births registered. A major gap identified in the civil registration system in Ethiopia is the linkage between the health and the civil registration sectors with most children delivered at the health facilities or in the communities not appropriately registered. This case study used qualitative and quantitative methods to describe the process and outcome of a pilot project on improving birth registration using the health system (health facilities and the community health structures) in 2 project woredas (districts) in Somali region of Ethiopia where no birth had been registered more than five years prior the pilot.
Within the one-year study period, all 577 births assisted by health extension workers were provided with birth notification slips and 795 (98%) newborns have their birth registered and received birth certificates out of 809 total births reported in the project sites. The study demonstrated the effectiveness of health workers and community structure (mentor mothers) through their community sensitization and mobilization and active reporting process in facilitating registration of births in the civil registration system.
- Birth notification
- birth registration
- health system
- civil registration
How to Cite
UNICEF 2019. What is birth registration and why does it matter?
Accessed 15 July 2022
UNICEF. Every child’s birth right: inequities and trends in birth registration. New York: UNICEF; 2013.
Abouzahr C, de Savigny D, Mikkelsen L, Setel PW, Lozano R, Nichols E, Notzon F, Lopez AD. Civil registration and vital statistics: Progress in the data revolution for counting and accountability. Lancet. 2015;386(10001):1373–85.
Sustainable development goals.
Accessed 18 July 2022
UNICEF. Birth registration; 2022.
Accessed 18 July 2022
Health sector contributions towards improving the civil registration of births and deaths in low-income countries: guidance for health sector managers, civil registrars and development partners. Geneva: World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
African Union: Strengthening linkages between civil registration and the health sector for better health and improved civil registration systems: the cases of Uganda and Liberia. Conference paper Fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration Lusaka, 14-18 October 2019
Central Statistical Agency (CSA) [Ethiopia] and ICF. 2016. Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2016. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Rockville, Maryland, USA: CSA and ICFEDHS; 2016.
Hailemariam, Getahun. Endline Assessment: Improving Birth Registration Using the Existing Community Structures and Immunization Processes. Health, Nutrition, and Population Discussion Paper. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank; 2019.
Available:https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32541 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Registration of Vital Events and National Identity Card Proclamation. Proclamation No.760/2012 Federal Negarit Gazeta; 2012 .
Jackson D, Wenz K, Muniz M, Abouzahr C, Schmider A et al. Civil registration and vital statistics in health systems. Bull World Health Organ. 2018 Dec 1;96(12):861-863.
DOI: 10.2471/BLT.18.213090. Epub 2018 Oct 8
Muzzi, M. UNICEF Good Practices in Integrating Birth Registration into Health Systems (2000-2009). Case studies: Bangladesh, Brazil, The Gambia, and Delhi, India. UNICEF; 2010.
Fagernas S, Odame J. ‘Birth registration and access to health care: An assessment of Ghana’s campaign success’. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2013;91: 459-464.
Malaria Consortium. Integrating birth notification into community health programmes: Lessons from South Sudan. Malaria Consortium Learning Brief; September 2019.
UNICEF : A Snapshot of Civil Registration in sub-Saharan Africa December 2017
Reed et al. Counting on birth registration: mixed methods research in two EN-BIRTH study hospitals in Tanzania. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2021; 21(Suppl 1):236.
Siagian C, Wandasari W, Sahputra F, Kusumaningrum S. Strategic yet delicate: the dilemma of involving health workers in facilitating birth registration in Indonesia BMC Health Services Research. 2019; 19:889.
Joseph Wong. Reaching the hard to Reach: A case Study of Birth Registration in South Africa. The Reach project. Munk school of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; 2016.
Abstract View: 200 times
PDF Download: 66 times