The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa: How civil registration and vital statistics systems supported an emergency response
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global health crisis with far-reaching consequences. It has interrupted day-to-day life and affected the registration of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. This has the potential to jeopardize the rights of everyone — most notably, the world’s most vulnerable populations, like women, children, and persons displaced by conflict and violence.
Developing measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the registration of vital events is critical. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), with support from the Centre of Excellence for CRVS Systems, is using its convening role to provide technical assistance to African countries. This support is to ensure that their civil registration operations are equipped and can continue to respond to challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop technical briefs to guide and inspire the building of more resilient CRVS systems. This support has and will play a crucial role in programming now and after the pandemic.
Research conducted by UNECA and the Centre of Excellence has found that countries with digitized notification and registration systems experienced fewer disruptions, ensuring continuous recording of vital events during an emergency. Digital tools make it possible for clients to notify and register vital events as they occur, and reduce the risks related to late registration and non-registration of children.