CATHERINE MUMBA, Choma
THE Zambia National Women’s Lobby has urged parents in Southern Province to acquire birth registration certificates for their children especially now that Government has opened a birth certification centre in the region.
Government has launched the 2019-2021 National Advocacy and Communication Strategy and has opened the Choma birth and death certification centre to enhance birth certification.
In the past, birth certificates were only certified in Lusaka.
ZNWL chairperson Beauty Katebe said in an interview that the decision by Government to decentralise birth registration is commendable and will contribute to reducing abuse against children which results from not having a civil document to prove their age.
Ms Katebe said by decentralising birth registration, Government is responding to the Seventh National Development Plan, which places emphasis on ‘Leaving no-one behind’ and the decentralisation policy.
“We are very appreciative to Government’s efforts and you will realise that most of the children are not registered. This is not because their parents do not want to register them but because of the distance needed to be covered to do it,” she said.
Ms Katebe said parents who made an effort to cover long distances to access the document were disappointed because they did not get it on time.
She said it is good that Southern Province will now offer birth and death registration services closer to the people and in a more efficient manner.
“But again we might get the facility but if we do not sensitise people, they will not know about it and it will remain dormant,” Ms Katebe said.
She said it is the responsibility of civil society organisations and the media to sensitise people on the importance of birth registration.
Ms Katebe said the media and other stakeholders should take advantage of various social media platforms to educate the masses on the importance of civil registration.
“These are the things that we should be posting on social media instead of assassinating people using the available platforms, she said.
And Choma District Commissioner Sheena Muleya appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs to consider opening a passport registration desk in the district because the service is only being offered in Livingstone.
CATHERINE MUMBA, Choma