The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and its partners have developed a new framework that is aimed at transforming the way African countries build their Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the CRVS Systems Improvement Framework, Oliver Chinganya, head of the African Centre for Statistics at the ECA, said the framework would lead the continent towards universal coverage of vital events.
“As ECA, we are proud to be part of the framework that will revolutionize the way we build our civil registration systems into the future in Africa. We have kept to our commitment on the recommendation of the Nouakchott Declaration to undertake cutting-edge research and produce resource materials that will drive our CRVS systems in the future and make them reach international standards,” he said.
Mr. Chinganya said the ECA worked with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative through Vital Strategies and were complemented by the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems of the International Development Research Centre in developing the framework.
Thanking the team of experts who worked on it, he said, “I know it was a long process which you did not abandon along the way. Your determination has paid off and we now have a product that we are all satisfied with.
“At the Fifth Conference of Ministers responsible for Civil Registration in Lusaka in 2019, we promised to deliver this product, pilot it, and incorporate the revisions before COM6, and I am proud to say we have done it. We now have a product which I can confidently say will lead us towards universal coverage of vital events on the continent. But as you all know, a tool is only good when being used, so we look forward to countries fully utilizing the framework,” Mr. Chinganya added.
In her remarks, Ms. Liya Mutale, Chair of the Bureau and Zambia’s Home Affairs Permanent Secretary, appreciated the commitments by all member States, partners and stakeholders to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics systems in Africa and the gains recorded during the past few years.
Recalling deliberations at the fifth Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration held in Lusaka in 2019, Ms. Mutale said member States were encouraged to apply a process centric approach to access, analyse and redesign CRVS business processes to improve overall efficiency and ensure that digital solutions were fit for purpose.
“Standards are compliant, locally configurable, administrable and avoid vendor lock-in, and are financially sustainable with a clear total cost of ownership,” she said.
The important lessons and experiences from countries that have applied previous and existing CRVS improvement tools informed the development of the framework, and these include the ones developed by the APAI-CRVS and World Health Organization/University of Queensland Comprehensive Assessment Tools.
“Better systems and higher demand for civil registration services are key ingredients to achieve many of the sustainable development goals, and other development commitments, such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want,” William Muhwava, Head of the APAI-CRVS Secretariat at ECA said.
Mr. Muhwava, who presented the framework, said CRVS systems are complex. They involve many people, agencies and ministries, making them hard for people to understand and navigate. The framework, he said, was geared to simplify the process.
When CRVS systems are simplified, more births, marriages, divorces, and deaths would be registered on the continent. As a result, people get more access to the rights and services they deserve. Planners and policymakers also get better quality information they can use in their CRVS work.