Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Epidemiology | International Public Health | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration
Birth registration and obtaining physical birth certificates impose major challenges in developing countries, with impact on child and community health, education, planning, and all levels of development. However despite initiatives, universal registration is elusive, leading to calls for new approaches to understanding the decisions of parents. In this paper, we report results of a survey of students in grades six to eight (age ~12-16) in an under-registered area of Kenya regarding their own understanding of registration issues and their suggestions for improvement. These students were selected because they themselves were also nearing the age for high school enrollment/entrance examinations, which specifically requires possession of a birth certificate. This assessment was also a companion to our previous representative survey of adults in the same Kenyan region, allowing for parent-child comparison. Results supported previous research, showing that only 43% had birth certificates. At the same time, despite these low totals, students were themselves quite aware of registration factors and purposes. The students also made quite prescient sources for understanding their households' motivations, with many of their suggestions-for focus on communication of pragmatic benefits, or automatic measures shifting responsibility from parents-mirroring our own previous suggestions, and showing a level of pragmatism not witnessed when surveying their parents. This paper therefore adds evidence to the discussion of registration policy planning. More generally, it also builds on an important trend regarding the treatment of children as stakeholders and important sources of information, and raising an intriguing new avenue for future research.
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Citation: PLoS One. 2016 Mar 3;11(3):e0149925. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149925. eCollection 2016. Link to article on publisher's site
Copyright: © 2016 Pelowski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
DOI of Published Version
Pelowski, Matthew; Wamai, Richard G.; Wangombe, Joseph; Nyakundi, Hellen; Oduwo, Geofrey O.; Ngugi, Benjamin K.; and Ogembo, Javier Gordon, "How Would Children Register Their Own Births? Insights from a Survey of Students Regarding Birth Registration Knowledge and Policy Suggestions in Kenya" (2016). Open Access Articles. 2774.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.