Need to keep records on the dead – Afriyie-Ankrah

Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, on Tuesday stressed the need to enforce legislation on the registration of the dead and ensure that the indiscriminate interment of corpses came to an end.

“Not only has this contributed to the loss of information on deaths in the country but also affect health and other environment issues,” he added.

Mr Afriyie-Ankrah asked Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to ensure all burial grounds were registered and controlled in accordance with established laws in the country.

Launching this year’s Births and Deaths Registration Day celebration in Accra on the theme “Early Births and Deaths Registration; a Tool for National Development Planning”, he reminded the public that it was illegal to bury any corpse without registration and acquisition of a burial permit or death certificate.

The day would be commemorated on September 1, with a national durbar at Ekumfi Otuam in the Mfantsiman Municipal Assembly in the Central Region.

Mr Afriyie-Ankrah noted that the Births and Deaths Registry was facing numerous challenges that hindered its operations, and therefore needed to initiate bold decisions of committing more resources to revamp it to enable it achieve its mission.

This includes achieving its projected target of 70 per cent birth registration coverage for 2011 and to optimise the gains of births and deaths registration coverage.

Available records from the Registry shows that out of the expected birth target of 373,041 for 2011, 225,610 has been recorded by the end of June and this is made up of 114,761 men and 110,849 women, representing 60 per cent coverage.

For deaths, the expected target was 121,117 of which 27,039 has been recorded with 14,936 men and 12,103 women representing 22 per cent within the same period.

Mr Afriyie-Ankrah announced that computerisation of the Registry had become a reality and the use of electronically generated certificates came into force when the automation system at the Head Office was inaugurated in July 2009.

“It is now possible for the Registry to produce certificates with enhanced security components that will help eliminate the influx of fraudulent registration documents in the system,” he added.

The Deputy Minister said a programme to automate all regional offices had begun to facilitate the transfer of data, captured at the community and district levels, through the regional offices onto the national database.

He reminded the public that registration for children before their first birthday was free just as the registration of deaths within 30 days after occurrence was free.

Mr Afriyie-Ankrah commended stakeholders including PLAN Ghana, UNICEF, UNFPA, AENEAUS Programme, Ghana Immigration Service and Ghana Statistical Services for their support to the Registry to bring about the universal births and deaths registration in Ghana.

Mr Albert Anthony Ampong, Registrar, Births and Deaths Registry, urged Ghanaians to help make the system “extortion-free” by asking and paying for the stipulated fees and demand the right receipts.

He announced that the Registry had now introduced a new certificate with a green background featuring new security features adding “this does not mean that all those with the old ones with pink background should throw them away”.

Source: GNA

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