Bawumia launches Ghana Card number at birth

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia officially launched the Ghana Card number at birth system on Thursday, March 14.

According to Dr Bawumia, the system's launch is a revolutionary step forward in integrating and enhancing Ghana’s identity system.

Speaking during the launch at the Ga North Municipal Hospital, the Vice President stated that the integrated Ghana Card at birth system works during antenatal, where the mother's record is associated with the Ghana Card.

He explained that when the birth occurs in the health facility, it is captured in either the district health information system e-tracker at the CHIPS or health centres or in the hospitals, and the notification of the birth is sent to the birth and death registry which then issues a birth registration number and sends it back to the district health information system e-tracker.

“The data of the birth details and registration number received from the Births and Deaths registry is then sent from the district health information system e-tracker to the National Identification Authority with the picture of the mother which is authenticated by the NIA as being a citizen of Ghana and the Ghana Card number is then generated for the baby and sent back to the health system.

“A text message is then sent to the mother to visit the nearest NIA or Births and Deaths registry office to complete the process and get the relevant birth certificate,” Dr Bawumia said.

He noted that in the last few decades, the Births and Deaths registry has gone through various phases, emphasising that the initial processes to digitalise its records have increased the birth registration coverage from 30 percent to 70 percent.

He explained that digital tools launched in 2016 made this possible, allowing real-time data uploads from remote areas.

“The registry has also moved to an automated platform and it allows for real-time registration across all regions. It has streamlined certificate issuance to within two hours. 

“Additionally, it integrates with Ghana’s digital payment system by the platform and these changes have led to a consistent year-on-year increase in registration figures.”

The New Patriotic Party flagbearer for the 2024 general elections clarified that currently, the registration of births is done in the district office in which the birth occurred where the parents or significant other of the child, presents evidence of the birth (maternal health record book) and provide biodata to the birth event.

“This results generally in extra financial costs to the parents as they will have to travel distances to the nearest births and deaths registry district office, prolonged lack of time between birth and its registration and sometimes no registration at all.

“The absence of a unique identification system for citizens poses significant risks, it makes all of us vulnerable to fraud, inefficiency in public service delivery, challenges in implementing social programmes, electoral discrepancies and threats to national security,” he said.

Recognising these vulnerabilities, Dr Bawumia stated that Ghana established the National Identification Authority register to register citizens and residents.

He emphasised that as of Monday, March 11, 2024, a total of 17.8 million Ghanaians have been successfully enrolled on the Ghana Card system.

However, the Vice President clarified that the registration of 17.7 million adults above the age of 15 has left a critical gap in the registration of children on the Ghana Card from birth.

According to him, the lack of integration between birth records and the National Identity platforms has opened up a variety of potential problems and risks impacting on national security, voter registration, social services delivery and governance.

Commenting on the profound implications of this gap, Dr Bawumia said that the government through collaborative efforts with the Ghana Health Service, the Births and Deaths Registry, the Ghana Statistical Service and the National Identification Authority has integrated the system.

He said the integration of the data basis will ensure that every child born in Ghana is immediately provided with a unique identity, linking them to their mother's identity and securing their place within Ghana’s identity system.

“This monumental integration effort is not just about issuing a Ghana Card number, it is about recognising and affirming the rights and existence of our youngest citizens the moment they enter this world.

“It is about laying a foundation for their future, ensuring that they have access to health, education and social services without unnecessary barriers,” he said.

Dr Bawumia emphasised that the Ghana Card at birth system promises many benefits, providing documentary evidence of legal identity, social relationship, and rights from birth and ensuring social protection.

He stated that the system also enables effective planning of essential services like health, education and social welfare which supports economic growth and poverty reduction.

“It generates continuous demographic data for better management and sectoral improvement in health and wellbeing. 

“It also offers a reliable base for accessing progress in childhood health interventions, enhancing health, wellbeing and economic development. It improves the accuracy of child mortality statistics and aids the computing of district-level fertility estimates, enabling the size targeting of population growth and policy intervention,” the NPP flagbearer said.

The Vice President clarified that the launch of the Ghana Card number at birth will help to deal with child trafficking.

“When a child is trafficked and you are able to arrest the perpetrator, who is this child? If the child is on the NIA database, it is likely that we will find them and return the child to their parents,” he said. 

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.