Every child has the right to education, health and a unique identity. However, in order for a child to enjoy these rights, the responsibility is on their parents to ensure that they register their child’s birth with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) within 30 days of the birth. This Pregnancy Awareness Week, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is encouraging awareness among expectant parents of why early birth registration is key for their child’s future.
“Having a birth certificate is vital to being a citizen of South Africa, at all stages of an individual’s life,” says Khululiwe Mabaso, Director Corporate Communications & Government Relations for Sub-Saharan Africa at Procter & Gamble. “For example, this document is needed to register a child at school, to apply for government grants, to obtain an identity document, and to secure formal employment. Since 2010, P&G and our trusted Pampers brand have partnered with the DHA to educate parents about why early birth registration is so important for their child’s future.”
Pampers ambassadors visit maternity wards in government and private hospitals all over the country to help educate new mothers on using diapers, breastfeeding, basic baby and mother care, and of course the importance of birth registration within 30 days.
“We reach about 80% of the moms of newborns annually. In government hospitals alone, we interact with and educate around 600 000 moms every year on baby care and birth registration. As the world’s top-selling brand of baby nappies, we are proud to partner with government in a programme that will help secure positive and prosperous futures for all our children,” explains Mabaso.
The importance of registering your child’s birth within 30 days
According to the law, parents are required to register their child at the closest DHA office within 30 days of their birth. This is free of charge; however if the registration is late, parents are required to pay penalties. The DHA has opened offices in hospitals and health facilities throughout the country, to help parents register their child’s birth immediately. Parents who are unsure should speak to the clinic or hospital staff for advice.
Registering your child’s birth enables them to access to their rights to:
- Education and health: Non-registration of a child’s birth may impact on their education, as schools will not register a child who does not have a birth certificate that has the details of both parents.
- Family environment: A birth registration ensures that a child’s citizenship, identity and human rights are protected. For example, they are protected against identity theft.
- Protection against human trafficking and kidnapping: One of the reasons that government is being so strict about the need for birth certificates is to reduce the number of child kidnappings and child trafficking incidents.