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Birth Registration Results From Improvement Activities In Care For Vulnerable Children

Organization: USAID Health Care improvement/URC

Topics: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Region and Country: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Health Care Improvement Project (HCI), U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), EnCompass LLC, Family Health International (FHI), Health Research, Incorporated (HRI); Initiatives, Inc.; Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI); and Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (CCP)

This flyer discusses the legal protection of a child. This includes assurance that they have access to birth registration, an official recording of the child’s birth by government, and, upon death of their parents, access to assets and appointment of a legal guardian. Birth registration provides state recognition of a child’s existence and establishes their identity, nationality, kinship and age, key for one’s legal protection and access to essential services, including health, education, grants, and legal employment when older. Registering for a birth certificate is not so simple in many parts of the world. For children left orphaned or vulnerable
because of poverty, displacement, or other risk factors such as HIV and AIDS, the weak registration systems result in children with restricted access to basic services and protection and increases the children’s susceptibility to abuse, violence and exposure to HIV. For example, a child orphaned by AIDS who is not registered and does not have a birth certificate to prove their identity is extremely vulnerable to having property rights violated and left to live a life of poverty and survival by whatever means possible, including child labor, transactional sex, or early marriage.