By Polycarp Auta
Bauchi – The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday organised a sensitisation workshop for journalists on the importance of birth registration.
The workshop organised by the Bauchi Field Office of UNICEF, was in collaboration with the National Population Commission (NpopC).
In his opening remarks, Mr Victor Sule, UNICEF birth registration Consultant, said the meeting was aimed at equipping media practitioners with the requisite knowledge on creating awareness of birth registration at the community level.
He decried the low birth registration at the rural areas, owing to poor knowledge of its value, hence the need for massive awareness.
“The importance of birth registration cannot be over emphasised. Its value to the survival of the child and growth of the society is key.
“And quite disheartening is the fact that most people in the rural areas don’t even know about birth registration, not to talk of knowing its importance.
“This is the rationale for this training because once the media, who are key stakeholders get it right, the message will trickle down to the very last person in the rural communities.
“So, this is part of our collaboration with the media, to support us in taking the campaign on birth registration to the rural communities,” he said.
Sule further explained that UNICEF and NpopC are collaborating with other sectors such as health, education, traditional and religious institutions to promote routine birth registration.
He noted that UNICEF was committed to promoting and protecting the rights of children, hence the lack of knowledge about birth registration makes them marginalised.
In his address of welcome, Mallam Musa Rashid, the State Director of NpopC in Bauchi, said birth registration was one core mandate of the commission, adding that the sensitisation workshop was timely.
He explained that paucity of funds and manpower made the commission go into collaboration with key organisations to ensure every child is registered.
“Birth and death registrations are part of our key mandate in NpopC and we take them very seriously.
“We are mandated by law to register every child within the first 60 days of birth, unfortunately, the exercise is poor at the rural areas and this calls for intense campaign and awareness.
“But because we are constrained by lack of manpower and funds, we are collaborating with other key partners in ensuring that the message gets to the communities to enable us register every child, ” he said.
Some participants at the workshop.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation workshop had media practitioners from Plateau, Bauchi and Gombe States as participants.