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CIVIL REGISTRATION AND VITAL STATISTICS IN SWAZILAND

 Background

Civil registration started in 1927 in Swaziland, by then only white residents were knowledgeable and eligible to benefit from this system. Gradually after the country gained its independence a clique of Swazi citizens also began to register vital events such as births, civil rites marriages and deaths. This resulted in formation of compulsory domesticated legislations i.e. Births Marriages Deaths Act no5/1983.Which accommodated events like registration of customary marriages which were not acknowledged in the previous Acts.

From 1983 a compulsory legislation “Births, Marriages and Deaths” Act No.5 was enacted to drive registration efforts of all national vital events occurring within and outside the country. This has accelerated civil registration in the country as today most institutions like social services, schools, agriculture, employment agents, and social grants for the elderly, orphaned and vulnerable children transact through these documents. From 2005 up to date, the civil registration has strategically worked jointly with other partners such as UNICEF to accelerate registration to all deserving clients on time. Indeed results of such an endeavor are witnessed. Today Swaziland can point at products emanating from those initiatives.

Since the introduction of the importance of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) during the 1st Ministerial Meeting (ministers responsible for Civil registration) forum in Addis Ababa in 2010, this division has strengthened its cooperative links with other key primary stakeholders like Health, Education, Information, Communication &Technology (ICT), Tinkhundla Administration and Non-governmental Organizations to improve coverage.

Rationale

Civil registration in Swaziland guides all development plans as it is the core population data bank. Government uses it to formulate and monitor its policies and legislations. Due to its significance today, processes like local governments and national elections are managed through National Identity Documents. (Tichazabuve)

Strategies

Registration of children even those who are not attending school is delivered and payment for such is waived by our development partner UNICEF to avoid discrimination of Vulnerable.

SCHOOLS BIRTH REGISTRRATION

Admissions in schools are administered through civil registration documents. Schools’ Principals request assistance of mobilization of Civil Registration to the schools so that every child gets a birth certificate on time. The requirement of a birth certificate continues to be a key document in the life of a student until he/she turns the age of sixteen (16) years when a national Identity document is issued. This is a process which never ends here, further phases like Marriage, Divorce follow until an individual is registered for a death certificate.

Community outreach

Some comparative advantages are used to improve civil registration coverage.

Swaziland celebrates the following events annually in which this department has taken advantage of collecting more unregistered births, marriages, deaths and Personal identification Number since 2010.

  • Day of the African Child “June”
  • Local Annual Trade Fair “August to September” the department exhibits its products and renders fully fledged services.

Public Awarenes

Public community education is also driven through the radio (SiSwati) channel to motivate those who live in remote areas without access to television and local newspapers.

Hospital Based Birth Registration in 8 Health Facilities

Eight hospitals are already capturing birth registration as they occur in maternity units.

Expectant mothers’ “ANC” cards have been improved to bear the national PIN in order to facilitate a speedily birth registration on spot as it occurs. Standing operational procedures have been reviewed to allow capturing of all births occurring even during public holidays and weekends. Children who need medical referrals’ to other countries also get fast attention as they get their birth certificates on time to process their travel documents. Unregistered children attending immunization programs are also registered for birth certificates in public health centers as well as in health mobile campaigns.

DECENTRALIZATION

This process has further paved way to close the gap or distances to be travelled by the clients. Additional three offices were opened at Matata, Siphofaneni and Hluthi. These offices are located within the Lubombo and Shiselweni regions. However, we wish to report that Lomahasha and Luve are not functional as proposed due to various administrative challenges. Three others are on the pipeline Mayiwane, Gege and Sithobelweni.

 

 

 

 

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