The National Population Commission has described the rate of birth registration in Ogun State, which stands at 38 per cent, as low.

The Director of the NPC in the state, Mr Gbolahan Olude, said this during a stakeholders’ strategic meeting for media campaign on birth registration in Ogun State held on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the capital of the state.

The event was jointly organised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the commission.

Olude said that many parents, especially in the rural areas, still did not see the importance of registering the births of their children under the age of five and obtaining the required birth certificates.

He called on the Ogun State Government to support the agency with ad-hoc staff at the ward level, who would help collate the names of newborn babies and forward same to the commission for the issuance of birth certificates.

Olude also said that the agency hoped to attain 100 per cent registration of all the newborn babies in the state because any child that was not registered lacked identity and could not enforce his or her fundamental human rights.

He said, “In 2013, the birth registration percentage in the state was 35 per cent, but it is now 38 per cent. This is still low, as far as the full compliance with birth registration is concerned. We hope to record 100 per cent birth registration in the state.

“Although we are facing some challenges, which include low morale of staff, few registrars covering densely populated areas and difficulty in reaching some areas, among others, we will continue to solicit the support of all stakeholders to help us achieve our goals.”

On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Babatunde Ipaye, who was represented by Dr Ranti Oladeinde, said that registration of births was important to ensure proper planning by the government.

In order to improve on birth registration in the state, he called on the agency to partner with parents, community leaders and other stakeholders.

In his own presentation, Mr Niyi Alayaki of the Vital Registration Department of the NPC in the state, said “It is the duty of the National Population Commission to register all births and deaths.”

Alayaki also lamented the lack of awareness of the importance of birth registration among the people, saying that the commission would engage with key religious institutions to make regular announcements on birth registration during their services.

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