In 1998, 78% of birth registrations were late (births not registered in the same year, e.g. a child born in 2010 is only registered in 2012). By 2012, late birth registrations had decreased to 21%.
The Department of Home Affairs has made concerted efforts to ensure that registration of births is made as easy as possible. In addition to the offices and permanent service points, there are registration points for births in hospitals, Thusong centres and Development centres. They also have a number of mobile offices and 4-wheel drive vans to reach remote and difficult-to-reach areas.
The need for identity documents and birth certificates to access social grants and to register children for school has also contributed to the decrease in the late registration of births.
Registration of births is about more than simply giving a child a name and identity number. It provides statistics that government need to plan. The number of births assists in calculating fertility and mortality rates. It also informs goals four and five of the Millennium Development Goals, which speak to decreasing child and maternal mortality. The number of births can also be used when estimating the population and the rate of population growth between censuses, and for the preparation of population projections.
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