Monday, 26 September 2016

From Pasuruan City to Indonesia – achieving universal birth registration

By Felice Bakker, Child Protection Officer (JPO)

Major of Pasuruan City, Mr. Setiyono, provides birth certificates at a health clinic. ©UNICEF Australia / 2016 / Alice Hall 

Pasuruan City has been able to increase its birth registration rate from 46% in 2013 to 94% in 2016. Or to be more precise to 94.69% - as of 1:30 pm on the 20th of August 2016. That is the figure shown on the mobile app which is consistently monitored by the Head of the Civil Registration Office, Mr. Boedi Widayat MM. How has Pasuruan City become so successful?

Let me first start by introducing Pasuruan City and the reason for my visit. Pasuruan City in East Java belongs to one of six districts where UNICEF, since 2014, has been piloting a new approach to achieving universal birth registration based on the motto: “Ensuring every child counts”. The project is financed by UNICEF’s Australian National Committee and I had the opportunity to accompany the Committee during their recent visit to see first-hand the results of the work that has taken place.

With funding from the Australian National Committee, UNICEF has been supporting the six districts in promoting universal birth registration. The pilot aims to decentralize services at the sub-district and village level; establish an online registration system for new-borns in hospital/maternity clinics; and establish various mechanisms to address late registration, for example through schools. These steps are taken to contribute to improving Indonesia’s Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) system.

The Civil Registration Office uses the latest version of the SIAK, an information system which enables them not only to monitor and analyse the registration of births, marriages and deaths, but also to check for example which registered girl below the age of 18 is listed as married on her household card (KK).  They are currently testing the linkages between the SIAK data and a unified database on poverty alleviation. Soon they aim to also link SIAK with education as well as social and health data. The dream is that the “population data can be used to improve the health and well-being of all people”, explained Mr. Boedi Widayat MM. The impact of analysing such data can be immense and determine future programming and development for Pasuruan City and its people.

To achieve its goal of universal registration, no challenge is too big for the staff of the Civil Registration Office. However, this ambitious target poses a demanding task as there are children who are more difficult to identify and to register. These are the vulnerable children, children living in institutions, children living on the street, children from female-headed households, etc. But even for these difficult cases the staff of the registration office always try to find a solution because they believe it is their “duty is to serve the people”, stressed Mr. Boedi Widayat MM.

 The Head of the Civil Registration Office, Mr. Boedi, provides a birth certificate during a mobile registration event. ©UNICEF Australia / 2016 / Alice Hall

I saw the positive impact of the new approach when an elderly lady came to register her 14-year old granddaughter. During the conversation with the staff at the registration office it became clear that the girl was not attending school because her grandmother could not afford the related costs such as books and transportation. The Civil Registration Office took down her details to relay to the Education Office and informed her of the school support programme that she would be eligible for. The lady came to register her granddaughter but now will also be able to send her back to school.

After each activity the team evaluates the results and discusses how they can further improve their services.  Even though, the mobile registration at the village level was successful in registering over 100 children between 0 and 18, the staff understands that this approach is not sustainable - and should be taken as an intermediary solution. The aim is to strengthen the village registration offices to be able to register children at the village level without external support.

Pasuruan City is also very committed to share its experience and learnings with other districts and cities in Indonesia. Visits from two districts in Aceh are already in the pipeline and UNICEF is working closely with the office to develop a case study that can be distributed nationally. This is exactly the concept of up-stream work that UNICEF focuses on in Indonesia: piloting strategies, documenting their success, and encouraging the Government to replicate nationally.

The success and ability of Pasuruan City to lead the development of universal birth registration for the rest of Indonesia can best be expressed through the tagline “from Pasuruan to Indonesia”.

Pasuruan City was recognized recently by the Ministry of Home Affairs for achieving the birth registration target of the national development plan RPJMN ahead of time. But 94.69% is not good enough yet, explained Mr. Boedi Widayat MM. “Our target is to register all children aged 0 to 18 by end 2017. All means 100%”, he said.