JIS News

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is reporting a 93 per cent increase in the number of babies registered at birth for the first week in the New Year.
Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness noted that, “of the 899 births which occurred between January 1 and 7, some 836 babies were named within days of birth”.
“This shows that 93 per cent of the babies who were born had their names registered, compared to 30 per cent who would normally have been registered with a name at birth,” she explained.
The CEO noted that of the 520 fathers who added their particulars to the child’s birth certificate, 377 were unmarried fathers.
For the period under review, the Victoria Jubilee Hospital reported total births of 196 and 94 per cent were named.
Meanwhile, the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) reported that 56 babies were born and 45 were named, representing a total of 80 per cent. The statistics also showed that 137 babies were born at the Spanish Town Hospital, of which 132 were named at birth.
Reports from the Mandeville Public Hospital indicate that of the 69 babies who were born in the first week of January, 66 were named.
In St. James, doctors at the Cornwall Regional Hospital delivered 76 babies and 72 were named. “We also found that many parents who gave birth prior to 2007 are now coming in to ensure that their child is named and fully registered because of our public education drive,” Dr. Holness said.
“We are encouraging mothers and fathers to come prepared with names for their children. The RGD has developed a book of names and we will be circulating them as soon as possible. We have distributed the first set already and are awaiting another set, which we will send to the various health centres islandwide,” she added.
The CEO pointed out that it was important that children are named and fully registered, emphasizing that, “without a name, there is no possibility that a certified copy of a birth certificate can be issued and without a birth certificate, there is little evidence of the child’s identity”.
As a result of the RGD’s new thrust, the agency is now able to provide timely information to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) and the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) on births as well as fetal and neonatal deaths.
Additionally, she reiterated the importance of fathers affixing their particulars to the birth records in order to establish paternity.
According to Dr. Holness, there are some parents who may be hesitant in choosing a name before the baby is born, because they are concerned that after the child is born they may not particularly like that name.
If this occurs, the mother may return to the RGD within a year to amend the name without incurring a cost. However, if she wishes to do this after a year has passed, then she must apply for a Late Entry of Name to which a cost of $2100 will be incurred.
To add a father’s particulars, the cost is $600. “This can be avoided if the father appears at the time of registration and sign along with the mother, especially if they are unmarried, but if they are already married and there is a formal civil record which shows evidence of the marriage, then the information provided to the Registrar will substantiate this and the father’s particulars will be added if he is not present,” the CEO said.
In an effort to reduce the number of children leaving the hospital without their names on their birth records, the RGD has instituted an incentive for parents by issuing the first copy of the child’s birth certificate free of cost once the child is registered with a name, as of January 1, 2007.