THE Government has okayed the re-opening of the Registrar-General’s Office which will see more than 6 199 children born during the Covid-19 lockdown access birth certificates in Bulawayo.
Despite provisions in the law that every birth should be registered within the first 42 days, these babies could not be registered because of the global pandemic which has claimed 224 lives in Zimbabwe. At the inception of the Covid-19 lockdown in March, Government suspended operations of the registry office which has forced many mothers to go for months without registering the babies.
The Constitution in Section 81 (1) (b) states that: “Every child, that is to say every boy and girl under the age of 18 years has the right to be given a name and family name.”
A notice of birth should be given to the Registrar at the nearest birth and death registration office in the district within 42 days and where there was a stillbirth, such a notice should be done as soon as possible or within 30 days.
On average, Zimbabwe receives just over 400 000 births annually, this means the backlog which has run for over six months could be running into 200 000 unregistered births.
From April 1, Mpilo Central Hospital and the United Bulawayo Hospitals, the two major public hospitals for the southern province, recorded about 5 285 births, while Bulawayo City Council run clinics recorded 912 deliveries.
UBH acting chief executive Dr Narcacius Dzvanga said 1 339 births were recorded at the institution from April 1 to August 31 and the institution was yet to collate statistics for September as they normally do monthly reports.
According to the Mpilo acting chief executive Dr Solwayo Ngwenya, from April 1 to September 16, there were 3 948 births which were recorded at the institution.