Partnership signed to fix birth registration

By Bethel Peato Ale 18 October 2021, 9:46PM

The Samoa Bureau of Statistics is teaming up with the United Nations Development Programme Accelerator Lab in a bid to improve the country’s birth registration system.

As part of a partnership between the Government agency and the UNDP an agreement was signed on Monday to mark the beginning of a partnership to create potential user-friendly solutions towards better national digital registration systems.

The S.B.S will work with the Accelerator Lab to co-create and co-design appropriate digital solutions to enhance the robustness of the Births Deaths and Marriages (B.D.M.) system and registration process.

The bureau’s C.E.O. Aliimuamua Malaefono Taua said on Monday that the system continues to experience delays despite the staff undergoing training.

“The Division of Births Deaths and Marriages still faces delays of birth registrations despite continuous training with village representatives and media advocacy programmes to encourage birth registration within three months after the child’s birth, as mandated in the Registration for Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 2002," she said.

Aliimuamua said their strategic goals include increasing the timeliness, availability, quality, coverage, transparency and usefulness of statistics on Samoa and its people. 

Noting the fast technological changes and the changing environment in terms of data collection, testing a digital solution to increase the timeliness and coverage of birth registration is a great opportunity to supplement the usual advocacy programmes.

The M.O.U. signals the start of activities between S.B.S. and the Accelerator Lab to assess the causes of delays or failures in birth registration systems (such as in some cases of home births).

According to the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Verena Linneweber, the partnership between the two organisations will go a long way in enhancing their relationship as they work to address the issue.

“The Accelerator Labs are U.N.D.P.’s new way of working in development. Together with our core partners, the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, 92 labs serving 120 countries are working with national and global partners to find radically new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges," said Ms Linneweber.

"This partnership with S.B.S is a great example of this vision at work in the local context, in an area of need."

Aliimuamua then added that the main reason why the S.B.S. cannot record 100 per cent of births in Samoa means that parents of newborns wait till the last minute to register their newborn babies.

"We are only able to record about 70 percent of newborn babies every year, but with this new partnership with the U.N.D.P. Accelerator Lab maybe we can create a software or an application that can make it affordable for parents to register their newborn child," she said.

By Bethel Peato Ale 18 October 2021, 9:46PM
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