The rate of birth registration in Pakistan is currently quite low due to various socio-economic factors. Time, cost, travel, process hindrances and general lack of awareness all contribute to the situation. On the other hand, the prevalence of mobile technology in Pakistan has enabled more services and applications for the masses. Telenor Pakistan’s unique pilot project with UNICEF aims to make the process of birth registration via mobile phone user-friendly for citizens and other stakeholders.
“Considering proof of identity an essential prerequisite for gaining access to basic services, and to exercising fundamental human rights, we are pleased to announce our partnership with UNICEF Pakistan, which will not only help boost birth registration rate per se, but will also establish the importance of technology for enabling and mediating civil rights in Pakistan,” said Muhammad Aslam Hayat, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Telenor Pakistan.
How it works
A simple yet powerful SMS-based application will receive and report birth counts. This application will enable households or authorized community members such as health workers, teachers, education staff and/or medical staff in health facilities, etc., to report births in their communities. A few basic pieces of information, such as identity of parents, address and phone number, will be managed through a question and answer loop. The data coming in will be made accessible by simple web-based dashboards to all stakeholders.
“This project has tremendous implications for the right of every child in Pakistan as birth registration is an important instrument to realize children’s right to health, education and other services in particular protection against violence, abuse and exploitation,” said Dan Rohrmann, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “We hope this breakthrough in partnership and innovation between the Local Governments, Telenor and UNICEF will help achieve the ultimate goal of permanent, continuous and universal birth registration in Pakistan.”
Identify gaps in registration
The incoming birth counts will be cross-referenced with actual birth registrations in the target localities in order to identify gaps and create heat maps for areas requiring the most attention. This tool can serve as a high-level monitoring framework to start getting accurate birth counts and develop corrective measures.
This project not only aims to increase demand for registrations but also stimulate a more proactive approach towards bringing birth registration services to the public. The project will help improve citizen interactions through process optimization, better planning and management of data for the government, and improved health awareness through uptake of mobile-health (m-health) services.
Telenor Group and UNICEF have a global collaboration to explore innovative solutions using mobile technology for the benefit of UNICEF’s programmes for children in all markets where Telenor operates.