What can be done to rapidly improve CRVS systems?
Increasing awareness, engagement, and participation
Efforts to improve the availability and quality of registration services must be matched by actions to ensure that people and decision makers are aware of and supportive of the imperative to register vital events. Individuals need to understand the importance of declaring vital events and recognise the value of a birth or death certificate in enabling full access to social and economic development.
Communities, policy-makers and planners need to be aware of the value of vital statistics and the role of the registration system in generating them.
A crucial part of increasing demand is to ensure that there are no costs associated with registration. It is also good practice that the first copy of the certificate is also offered free of charge.
Example activities include:
- Amending rules and regulations to ensure that birth and death registration are free of charge, including the issuance of the first or short-form certificate
- Undertaking national campaigns or drives to encourage individuals and families to declare and register vital events
- Undertaking national and sub national advocacy and outreach specifically directed at hard-to-reach populations
- Identifying and removing barriers to registration that impede access by persons from remote and marginalised groups
- Ensuring that registration services are user-friendly and welcoming to clients and that registration is offered as a service to the people
- Introducing incentives for registration, such as facilitated access to services and social benefits. However, it is important that incentives do not have unintended effects such as inhibiting access to health and education
- Demonstrating to the the value of vital statistics to guide local-level planning and program implementation, and for holding their leaders to account
- Including representatives of civil society, such as communities and nongovernmental organisations, on national CRVS coordination mechanisms
- Conducting regular studies of user satisfaction with the CRVS services.
Celebrating civil registration in the Philippines
In the Philippines, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 682, signed by then-President Corazon Aquino on 28 January 1991, celebration of Civil Registration Month is observed in February.
February 23 of every year is observed as Universal Birth Registration Day as declared by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The event informs the population about how birth records may be used in claiming some inheritance, accessing training, establishing ancestry and establishment of an identity, to name a few benefits.
For an effective implementation of civil registration, local government units, the church, and various government and nongovernment organisations are urged to work hand-in-hand with the local civil registrars to make this endeavour a fruitful one.