What can be done to rapidly improve CRVS systems?
CRVS and digital technologies
There is a huge potential for using ICT to strengthen CRVS systems, making them more efficient and more effective. However, the current capacity to implement well-designed, scalable and sustainable systems remains weak, resulting in notable risks. Guidance on ways of avoiding such risks while re-engineering CRVS systems to take advantage of the opportunities for improvement that IT offers have been developed by Plan International and others. These aim to avert risks often associated with IT projects by helping ensure that:
- ICT investments are not wasted due to failed projects, large budget and schedule overruns.
- The full potential of ICT is leveraged, resulting in CRVS systems that are fully scalable, sustainable, flexible and interoperable.
- ICT solutions provide the necessary data protection, security and confidentiality to safeguard personal data.
- Over-reliance on the skills of software vendor and cost escalation of long-term contracts due to proprietary software and standards are avoided.
- System development is well planned and conceived from the outset and building towards a long-term CRVS vision.
- There is sufficient institutional readiness and workforce capacity to ensure adequate implementation, management, and cost-effective scale up of ICT investments.
Duffus E et al (2015). Smart ICT investment for CRVS: A global business case. Plan International, Woking, UK.
Plan International and Jembi Health Systems (2017). CRVS digitisation guidebook: A step-by-step guide to digitising civil registration and vital statistics processes in low resource settings, African Development Bank for the African Programme for the Accelerated Improvement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, Addis Ababa.