Birth Certificates for Children in Sierra Leone

@UNICEF Sierra Leone/ Oliver Asselin: Little Amadu has a birth certificate.
@UNICEF Sierra Leone/ Oliver Asselin: Little Amadu has a birth certificate.

Today, UNICEF hands over 13 motorbikes to the National Office of Births and Deaths which is part of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone.

In Sierra Leone, many children are not registered at birth. As a result, there is a large number of children who are not within the legal system. Birth registration is a fundamental right: It helps children to access health services, and protects them against child rights violations such as early marriage, illegal arrest, and trafficking. Registration is also essential for the Government to be able to plan services for its citizens.

Many problems contribute to unregistered births in Sierra Leone. One reason is that district registrars are often unable to regularly visit Health Units in rural areas. As a result, health centers often experience stock outs of birth certificates. The new motorbikes, which UNICEF hands over to the Government today, will allow for more regular visits and a sufficient supply of birth certificates. Such simple measure can have big impacts as they contribute to ensuring that children are registered at birth which is a fundamental right.

Find out more about what UNICEF is doing to ensure that all children have birth certificates:
http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58010.html
*** by Rosmarie E. K. Jah, Reports Officer, External Relations and Advocacy, UNICEF Sierra Leone
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