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Why do CRVS systems underperform?

Challenges and barriers to CRVS

As noted in Introduction to CRVS back to basics, the CRVS system is made up of two sub-systems: the civil registration system and the vital statistics system. Ideally, these work together seamlessly to ensure that all vital events are recorded and incorporated into vital statistics. In practice, however, a number of challenges inhibit the effective functioning of both components with the result that births and deaths may not be officially registered and vital statistics may not be available or of sufficient quality to underpin policy and planning decisions. 

Overall, these challenges can be grouped into those associated with demand for CRVS, with supply-side constraints, and with the policy and institution context for CRVS.  

Challenges to be addressed with regard to civil registration

  • Demand-side challenges: people are unable or unwilling to register vital events.
  • Supply-side challenges: registration services are insufficient, inadequate, under-resourced or unwelcoming to clients.
  • Policy and institutional challenges: Legal and administrative systems are out of date and policy-makers are unaware of the potential benefits of civil registration for governance and administration. 

Challenges to be addressed with regard to vital statistics

  • Demand-side challenges: There is limited understanding of the value of vital statistics on the part of policy makers, the or the media. 
  • Supply-side challenges: Capacities for data collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination are limited. Key skills such as database management and curation, data security and protection of confidentiality are inadequate. 
  • Policy and institutional challenges: Legal and administrative systems are not adapted to deal with contemporary statistical and data management requirements and IT systems are unresponsive or outdated. 

In this section, we focus first on the factors that impede the registration of births and deaths, and then go on to examine the implications of these challenges for vital statistics. 

In CRVS and governance we discuss ways of overcoming the challenges with regard to both civil registration and vital statistics.

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