COVID-19 brings into focus of timely, reliable vital events data, UN says

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COVID-19 brings into focus of timely, reliable vital events data, UN says

On December 13, 2021, people wait for COVID 19 vaccination at Soweto's Baragwanath hospital in South Africa. JEROME DELAY ADDIS ABABA - The COVID 19 pandemic has brought into focus the importance of timely and reliable vital events data, the UN Economic Commission for Africa said.

The UNECA made a statement as the African continent marked the fifth Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day, which is commemorated annually on August 10.

This year's edition of Africa Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day is commemorating the theme of harnessing coordination, country leadership and ownership to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics systems, a vehicle for counting everyone. The theme highlighted the need for a sustained political commitment at the country level, with African governments taking leadership and ownership in strengthening their respective civil registration and vital statistics systems.

The UNECA said that civil registration and vital statistics systems play a critical role in making sure everyone has access to vaccine, health care, social protection, and other government services.

The past two years have been a tragic reminder of the challenges that countries face in accurately counting the lives lost during the coronaviruses epidemic, the UNECA said.

The Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Day was proclaimed in January 2018 by the African Union AU as a means to promote advocacy for civil registration and vital statistics systems for the continent's growth.

The UNECA said well-coordinated civil registration and vital statistics systems benefit citizens while forming public policy toward informed decisions.

It said leadership is a pillar for improving systems, which are at the foundation of the digital public infrastructure that many countries are putting into place, along with advances in systems thinking, demographic analysis and digital technologies.

The annual commemorative event is a reminder to African countries to take leadership and ownership in strengthening their civil registration and vital statistics systems, according to the AU.

The AU had previously emphasized that the COVID 19 pandemic has shown the weaknesses of the civil registration system when the services are required the most.