The wife of the Ondo State governor, Mrs Betty Akeredolu, says the rating of the state high in Under-one birth registration performance in the southwest through the National Population Commission(NPC) by UNICEF was encouraging.
Mrs Akeredolu said this on Tuesday while reacting to some achievements made by the office of the Wife of the Governor to mark Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s third year anniversary.
She said that the success recorded in the Accelerated Birth Registration Plus (ABR+) pilot project gave the state the high ranking by UNICEF.
“The investment started in 2018 with the implementation of the Accelerated Birth Registration (ABR) pilot project in Ifedore Local Government Area of the state.
“The project was then replicated in 2019 and data from UNICEF has shown that Ondo state is the state with the best under-one birth registration performance in South-West’’.
She described ABR as a resoundingly innovative and supportive initiative.
“It has given many children who ordinarily were at risk of being victims of child labour and abuse the opportunity to have access to the necessary basic amenities they need,” she said.
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The governor’s wife maintained that the programme has provided the opportunity for children to have their birth registered with the NPC and claim their nationality with no stress.
She said that before now, the birth registration coverage and performance of the state was among the poorest in the south-west, for almost a decade (2011 to 2018).
“Ondo was never among the top three states with the best under-one birth registration performance in the South-West before the present administration’’.
According to her, the negative narrative started to change when Gov. Akeredolu began to invest in birth registration.
“The result from that pilot showed a 280 per cent increase in birth registration in the first month of the programme implementation and a 535 per cent rise in the second month.
“It is worthy of note that between 2018 and 2019 there was a 150 per cent increase in under-one birth registration performance in Ondo State.
“This is the highest percentage increase in the South-west and second highest in Nigeria after Bayelsa.
She added that up until 2018, the birth registration of children under the age of five in Ondo State has never been up to 100,000 in a year.
“In 2019 however, as a result of the state government’s continuous investment in birth registration through the ABR Plus project, birth registration of under-five children was recorded to be 206,973.
“This is over a 100 per cent increase compared to the 70,120, 72,854, 91,402, 72,047, and 77,198 that were achieved in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively”, she said.