Programme Director

Principal Secretaries
UN Representatives
Civil Society and Private Sector Partners present
Media houses present
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
A very good morning to you all.
On behalf of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you here, to the launch of the 2017 vital statistics report for the kingdom of Eswatini, under this year’s priority theme for CRVS “Promoting Innovative Universal Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System for Good Governance and Better Lives”

It is worth noting that CRVS is increasingly being recognized as a critical mechanism in our everyday lives:
1) For supporting good governance (through data driven planning and accountability, links with electoral rolls etc.)
2) As a financial management tool (linkages with social security) and data linkages (through identity management)
3) As a key element in supporting human rights, social inclusion and access to education (through the recognition of identity and associated rights, and the accountability of measuring and recording deaths).
As such, the production of accurate Vital statistics (VS) on vital events such as births, deaths and causes of death, is important for policy development, planning of programs and research and for monitoring development frameworks such as SDGs.

Notably, the Kingdom of Eswatini has an obligation to report on two of the seventeen SDGs that have targets and indicators related to a well-functioning Civil Registration and Vital Statistics system.
• Under SDG goal number 3 –for which we need to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, the CRVS system is expected to provide data on causes of death.
• Whilst under SDG goal number 17 –for which we need to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, the CRVS must provide information on the timeliness and completeness of registration.
Vital Statistics are an essential part of a national statistical system and critical for generating timely, continuous data on births and deaths, and subsequently population measures such as fertility and mortality. A high level of completeness (nearly 100% for births and more than 80% for deaths) is required in order for data generated from Civil Registration to be considered reliable for statistical purposes without substantial correction.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am proud to say that the central statistical office in collaboration with the departments of civil registration, Government Computer Services, the Health Management and Information Unit, and development partners have made significant progress in compiling good and reliable vital statistics for the Kingdom of Eswatini.
The 2017 Vital Statistics report highlights an increase in the level of completeness for birth registrations, from 8.3% in the year 2016 to 13.2% for the year 2017. The achieved level of completeness for death registration was 25.3%. However, timeliness in registration is a challenge confronting not only the Kingdom of Eswatini but many other African countries. This therefore indicates the need for government to intervene since this shows that either the service does not reach the population or people do not want to take up this service.
TB, AIDS and cancer were found to be leading underlying causes of death in the population, and amongst children under 5 years of age, Diarrheal diseases were the leading condition followed by malnutrition and maternal related deaths.
The figures from the report indicate for a lot of work that needs to be done in the collection and compilation of vital statistics. Although vital events are continuously registered in the country, these prove not to be timely/ current, thus being in an incomplete state, for the computation of other vital indicators on fertility and mortality.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I conclude I would like to thank all partners who joined hands to make this CRVS report a reality. My heartfelt gratitude is towards UNFPA for providing both technical and financial support in all stages of this exercise. ICAP through PEPFAR/CDC for providing technical support.
I commend the Central Statistical Office under the Ministry of Economic Planning, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Information Communication and technology, and the Ministry of Health for their joint efforts in this exercise. To the members of both the Technical Working Group and Steering Committee, we are grateful for your hard work. I would also like to encourage the Eswatini population to take interest in the registration of all vital events.
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my honour to officially launch the 2017 Eswatini Annual Vital Statistics report. It is also my sincere hope that this report will open up space to discuss objectively, CRVS issues that policy makers and the entire Eswatini nation should be mindful of - and that which they have to act upon - to enable attainment of vision 2022, Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.

I thank you.

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