Civil registration: Hospitals set to register newborns

A mother and her newborn at La Croix du Sud on Christmas Day last year. File.

Parents will no longer have to travel to local administration offices to register their new babies once a new system to register them at health centres goes in place.

Parents will be given 15 days to register the babies or incur penalties.

According to the Ministry of Local Government, and the National Identification Agency (NIDA), the policy to allow health centres to give the same services as a civil status registrar is still under legal scrutiny.

The revelation was made Tuesday during a meeting with the parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, ICT, Culture and Youth.

Normally, the registration of newborns is done by civil status registrars based at all the 416 sectors countrywide.

Civil status denotes the totality of acts and events concerning the life of a citizen such as birth, citizenship, marriage, divorce, and death.

The development will also help address issues of children born out of marriage, such as by under-16 mothers who are yet to get identity cards.

“The integrated system will link NIDA and administrative sectors to services at health centres so that a child can be registered soon after birth.

As of now, private and public health facilities keep a special register used to record dates of births but only serves as a reference for birth certificates issued by civil registrars.

According to the Law Governing Persons and Family that was enacted in 2016, every child must be declared within thirty days after birth.

Any person wishing to receive birth record but has not declared the child’s birth within the period specified by law is liable to an administrative fine determined by a Presidential Order.

Dr Alvera Mukabaramba, the State Minister for Social Affairs, said that some parents leave the hospital without registering their children and this affects statistics and the rights of a child.

“This move will help get the real number of new-borns and those who died. With more than 90 per cent of children born at health facilities, we will have largely addressed the issue of child registration,” she said.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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