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UNICEF program aims to improve birth registration

A family stands around a newborn at a medical facility in Phnom Penh last year.
A family stands around a newborn at a medical facility in Phnom Penh last year. Vireak Mai

UNICEF program aims to improve birth registration

One in every four children in Cambodia under the age of 5 has not had their birth registered, but a new program aims to tackle the problem at the commune level using mobile phone technology, according to UNICEF.

Commune offices sometimes lack birth registration paperwork to provide such services, UNICEF spokesman Bunly Meas said yesterday. Under the new initiative, however, commune clerks will receive a monthly automated call on their mobile phones to check on their stocks.

“This call collects the information about the number of registration forms and books available and shares it in real time with the district, province and the Ministry of Interior,” he wrote. “This system enables the relevant government entities to re-supply communes faster, avoiding potential disruption in services.”

The ministry’s General Department of Identification, with support from UNICEF, is implementing the program across Siem Reap and Kratie provinces, Meas said.

“Registering a child will allow for an identity to be established, which in turn acts as a protection tool against exploitation, trafficking and violence.’’

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