This week, Marie Claire Mutuyimana’s new-born made history after the baby became the first person to be registered in the Integrated civil registration system and receive a birth certificate The event was launched at Masaka Hospital where the baby was born.
The system will allow hospitals to record births as well as deaths in the national data bank. It will link civil registration and vital statistics to the population registry Health Information Management System and other databases.
Previously, child registration was only carried out by local administrative officers and some local authorities, especially in rural areas, have a tendency of being very bureaucratic and vital statistics are missed.
Traditionally, anything to do with a child is left to the mother and that applied also to register the child. But now that burden is over. Mothers will no longer travel long distances to perform the task. Even those who give birth at home will register the child with the grassroots leader to allow for better planning based on current and accurate statistics.
Between 1978 and 2012, Rwanda experienced a very high population growth which put a lot of pressure on the government.
The population density didn’t make things any easier; from 183 inhabitants per square kilometre to 415 called for urgent planning. But that can’t be done with an out of date database.
Females account for 56 per cent of Rwanda’s population, and like in most African countries, are the backbone of the home and perform most of the chores. In fact in Kinyarwanda they have a better sounding name that aptly describes their domestic role; “Mutima w’urugo” (the heart of the household).
But now that is one less chore to perform but a relief to the statistics bureau and other agencies that will see all their systems integrated.