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Most Sub-Saharan Births Go Unrecorded

It’s estimated that in sub-Saharan Africa, more than half the births each year go unrecorded. The lack of birth certificates can make children targets of traffickers and less likely to receive an education or emergency aid.

Since February of 2005, the aid group Plan International has been trying to reverse the trend with its “Count Me In” campaign. So far, it’s registered five million children in poor countries around the world.

Paul Bode is the director of programs and communication for Plan International. From London, he told VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua the campaign was started “to work with governments in different countries where we have our programs to promote that they establish the service for birth registration. To promote the awareness with families that they take their children to be registered and to improve laws around birth registration.”

Bode adds, “The right of a child to have their birth registration is one of the first rights of the child to be complied with so they can have access to health services. They can have access to education. Also many social programs…are based on the number of children registered.”

Plan International estimates that each year, some 48 million births go unrecorded. Bode says, “There’s a long was to go still.”