How to get more babies registered at birth

After the miracle of birth, the niceties of Belizean law must be observed: all live births, including stillborns, must be registered where ever the child is born. While most parents – 94 percent according to statistics – adhere to the law, some are not able to because of circumstances. The responsible department, the General Registry’s Vital Statistics Unit, admits that there are bottlenecks in processing birth certificates between the hospital or place of birth and the Unit’s offices countrywide. Wanting to ensure that all children have access to development and service in the Jewel, the Government of Belize collaborated with UNICEF to hire a Jamaican consultant, Patricia Holness. Her report was issued today at the start of an all-day workshop in Belize City and she spoke with us about some of the findingsHolness says that new parents are at all times responsible for ensuring that their new-borns are registered. However, the registration officers for the Unit should, where necessary, find and register unregistered children to get their status settled. Holness tells us that there is a negative effect to not registering a child on time and as early as possible, as it results in greater difficulty accessing social services: But fortunately for the Vital Statistics Unit, things are a lot better than they used to be. Registrar General of the Supreme Court, Velda Flowers, whose office retains responsibility for the Unit, says technology has helped them improve service to consumers:Belize’s laws state that births must be registered within 42 days of birth, but official policy put together in 2006 limits registration to before the child is discharged if born in a hospital and within 7 days of birth if born outside a health care institution.vlcsnap-2016-02-19-09h58m22s674vlcsnap-2016-02-19-09h58m30s897

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