Home Affairs Ministry introducing digitalised birth certificates

16 May 2014 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 16 MAY (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration is in the process of phasing out manual birth certificates, and introducing digitalised birth certificates.
The digitalisation of the birth certificates for newborn babies will be piloted for three to six months at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital before it is introduced countrywide.
The pilot phase is expected to commence in a few weeks’ time.
A consultant for the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Department of Civil Registrations, Anette Bayer Forsingdal said on Thursday the ministry has been faced with challenges in switching from a manual to electronic system.
Speaking during a presentation at the ministry’s stakeholders’ consultative meeting, she said the introduction of electronic systems has required a change in the procedures for the handling of applications.
“Many of the clerks working at the ministry are finding it challenging to change the ways of working. The change-over has also been hampered by network problems, meaning the systems have been unreliable and subsequently rejected by some clerks,” she said. Forsingdal added that the introduction of the new electronic certificates can only be introduced when the network is 100 per cent stable.
“The poor network quality has played the main role in the delay of the roll-out of the certificates,” she stated.
She further highlighted that part of the ministry’s strategies to address these challenges will be to draft a communication strategy on how to improve timely birth and death registrations through radio slots, television advertisements and leaflets.
According to Forsingdal, the ministry is also in the process of preparing high volume sub-regional offices in Rehoboth, Walvis Bay, Okakarara, Grootfontein and Okahandja so that these towns can have identification documentation (ID) registration machines.
“The Outjo sub-regional office was opened with ID registration in April 2014,” she said.
The ministry has also been holding consultations with the University of Namibia (Unam) and the Polytechnic of Namibia to develop a curriculum on Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) she noted.
The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has further established Home Affairs’ offices in all State hospitals around the country. The ministry’s public relations officer Salome Kambala indicated that these are operating successful, but still face problems with late registrations.
Kambala said the digitalisation of birth certificates will also serve as a solution to late registrations, and will help to avoid non-Namibians coming into the country and getting Namibian birth certificates.