Civil registration critical for universal health coverage, say UN health agency

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World Health Organization

Civil registration and vital statistics systems are critical in planning for universal health coverage, according to a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO).

But WHO says about 80 countries in the world do not have functioning civil registration systems to document births and deaths.

More than 200 representatives of government, development agencies, civil society, academia and other partners are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss concrete steps to improve civil registration and vital statistics.

Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation at WHO and one of the participants in the meeting, explains the importance of this subject.

"If you don't know how many children are born, you don't know how many vaccines you would need. If you don't know how many women you have who are of child-bearing age, you don't know how many midwives you need. If you don't know how many people are aging in your country and if you don't know what disease they have, how do you know what intervention, how do you know how many hospital beds you need and this and that? So in order to plan for universal health coverage you need to have trustworthy civil registration vital statistics system." (32")

Dr. Kieny says both resources and political commitment by governments are needed to improve this civil function in countries that are still behind in this area.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1'29"

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