The level of birth registration of children under-five in Bangladesh is the lowest among South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, said a UNICEF report recently.
The organisation showed that the births of nearly 230 million children under-five have never been registered; approximately one in three of all children under-five around the world
The new report, Every Child's Birth Right: Inequities and Trends in Birth Registration, collects statistical analysis spanning 161 countries and presents the latest available country data and estimates on birth registration.
Globally in 2012, only around 60 per cent of all babies born were registered at birth. The rates vary significantly across regions, with the lowest levels of birth registration found in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The 10 countries with the lowest birth registration levels are: Somalia (3 pc), Liberia (4 pc), Ethiopia (7 pc), Zambia (14 pc), Chad (16 pc), United Republic of Tanzania (16 pc), Yemen (17 pc), Guinea-Bissau (24 pc), Pakistan (27 pc) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (28 pc).
The Unicef report observed even when children are registered, many have no proof of registration. In Eastern and Southern Africa, only about half of the registered children have a birth certificate. Globally, one in seven registered children does not possess a birth certificate. In some countries, this is due to prohibitive fees. In other countries, birth certificates are not issued and no proof of registration is available to families.
Children unregistered at birth or without identification documents are often excluded from accessing education, health care and social security. If children are separated from their families during natural disasters, conflicts or as a result of exploitation, reuniting them is made more difficult by the lack of official documentation.
"Birth registration is more than just a right. It's how societies first recognize and acknowledge a child's identity and existence," said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta.
"Birth registration is also key to guaranteeing that children are not forgotten, denied their rights or hidden from the progress of their nations."
Birth registration, as an essential component of a country's civil registry, also strengthens the quality of vital statistics, aiding planning and government efficiency.