Gov’t Committed to Civil Registration and Identification Policies

Photo: Michael Sloley Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton (left), is in discussion with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Deputy Keeper of Records, Registrar General’s Department (RGD), Deirdre English Gosse, at a briefing session for the inaugural Caribbean Civil Registration and Identity Management Conference at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingstonon June 21. The conference will be held at the Montego Bay Conference Centre, St. James, from July 6-8.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is committed to implementing civil registration and identification policies in order to strengthen developing planning.
  • The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is Jamaica's sole repository of birth, death, marriage and foetal death records.
  • Among the expected outcomes of the conference is the establishment of a Caribbean network of civil registrars and developing recommendations for national and regional civil registration and identity management policies.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government is committed to implementing civil registration and identification policies in order to strengthen developing planning.

He noted that a critical part of the process is the establishment of a national identification system to capture and store the personal identity information of citizens and persons resident in Jamaica.

Dr. Tufton was addressing a briefing session for the inaugural Caribbean Civil Registration and Identity Management Conference at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on June 21.

He noted that civil registration, which records vital events such as births and deaths by age, sex and cause, is the cornerstone of public health planning. It is also important in establishing and protecting a legal identity.

“Countries need to know how many people are born and die each year and the main causes of their deaths in order to have well-functioning health systems. When deaths go unaccounted for and the causes of death are not documented, governments cannot design effective public health policies or measure their impact,” he pointed out.

Citing figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tufton said that, globally, two-thirds or 38 million of 56 million annual deaths are not recorded and that almost half of the world’s children go unregistered.

“Countries that do not have a well-functioning civil registration system only have approximate ideas of the numbers, the longevity and the health of their population,” he said, while calling on countries within the region to update their civil registration legislation and systems.

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is Jamaica’s sole repository of birth, death, marriage and foetal death records.

 

Dr. Tufton noted that approximately 95 per cent of Jamaica’s births are registered by the agency, which has over seven million births in its database.

“RGD has established itself as a model for the Caribbean from which leadership is expected,” he said.

In the meantime, Dr. Tufton noted that the Government is working towards the digitisation of patient records across health facilities, which will be extended to all ministries, departments and agencies overtime.

“(This will) allow for connectivity between agencies and ministries in order to analyse and make decisions that can benefit us and promote our development goals in the regions and in the country,” Dr. Tufton said.

The Caribbean Civil Registration and Identity Conference Management will be held at the Montego Bay Conference Centre, St. James, from July 6-8 under the theme ‘Civil Registry and Identity Protection: Development Imperative’.

To date, 18 countries have confirmed their participation in the three-day event being organised by the RGD.

It will provide for the sharing of best practices in civil registration and national identification across the Caribbean subregion, and the standardisation of data collection protocols that will better enable cross-comparison of country data.

Among the expected outcomes of the conference is the establishment of a Caribbean network of civil registrars and developing recommendations for national and regional civil registration and identity management policies.

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