BY ANDREW KUNAMBURA
THE United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners have developed a new framework that is aimed at transforming the way African countries build their civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the CRVS Systems Improvement Framework, Oliver Chinganya, head of the African Centre for Statistics at the ECA, said the framework would lead the continent towards universal coverage of vital events.
When CRVS systems are simplified, more births, marriages, divorces, and deaths would be registered on the continent.
As a result, people get more access to the rights and services they deserve. Planners and policy-makers also get better quality information they can use in their CRVS work.
“As ECA, we are proud to be part of the framework that will revolutionise the way we build our civil registration systems into the future in Africa,” Chinyanga said.
“We have kept to our commitment on the recommendation of the Nouakchott Declaration to undertake cutting-edge research and produce resource materials that will drive our CRVS systems in the future and make them reach international standards.”
Chinganya said the ECA worked with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative through vital strategies that were complemented by the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems of the International Development Research Centre in developing the framework.
He added: “I know it was a long process which you did not abandon along the way. Your determination has paid off and we now have a product that we are all satisfied with.
At the fifth conference of ministers responsible for civil registration in Lusaka in 2019, we promised to deliver this product, pilot it, and incorporate the revisions before COM6, and I am proud to say we have done it.”
In her remarks, Liya Mutale, chair of the bureau and Zambia’s Home Affairs permanent secretary, appreciated the commitment by all member States, partners and stakeholders to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics systems in Africa and the gains recorded during the past few years.
“Standards are compliant, locally configurable, and administrable and avoid vendor lock-in, and are financially sustainable with a clear total cost of ownership,” she said.
The important lessons and experiences from countries that have applied previous and existing CRVS improvement tools informed the development of the framework, and these include the ones developed by the APAI-CRVS and World Health Organisation/University of Queensland Comprehensive Assessment Tools.
“Better systems and higher demand for civil registration services are key ingredients to achieve many of the sustainable development goals, and other development commitments, such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want,” William Muhwava, head of the APAI-CRVS secretariat at ECA said.
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