In Tanzania, where just 19 percent of births are registered, the government is using mobile technology provided by a local company to ensure newborns have access to basic rights, social services, immunizations, health care and schooling.
Registration information on newborns can now be entered into mobile phones which send data to a central database using Tigo, Tanzania’s first cellular network. Tigo is a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular S.A., which claims to serve 43 million customers in 13 emerging markets in Africa, according to a report in AllAfrica.
Fewer than 20 percent of all births are registered in Somalia, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia, according to UNICEF.
In Ethiopia and Tanzania, more than five times more children are registered in urban areas than rural. Many countries have introduced legislation to make birth registration mandatory, but only nine issue free birth certificates. UNICEF is supporting governments to strengthen and expand birth registration services in Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda, the report said.
Mobile technology in solving social challenges, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where its contribution to development is growing day by day, said Woinde Shisael, a Tigo officer. The birth registration app is designed to work on all models of mobile phones.
UNICEF representative, Jama Gulaid said the most basic of all children’s rights is an official recognition of their existence and nationality.
In Uganda, the mobile vital records system is using mobile technology that allows village registration agents to send birth registration details of newborns via mobile phones to local hospitals connected to a three-gigabyte web-based application, according to GSMA, a mobile provider.