SAP Africa’s innovative mobile birth application has potential to significantly increase Kenyan citizenship registration

Up until now, the number of birth registrations, especially in rural areas of Africa, remains shockingly low with only fifty percent of children being registered on average. Children born in Kenya must be registered within 90 days of their birth. If they are not registered within this period then citizens face costly, lengthy processes to register their children which, if not done, can prevent them from accessing vital state resources like education, healthcare and ultimately, productive employment.

At Connected Kenya, the leading East African public services and private sector ICT convention, SAP Africa today announced the launch of a new mobile application prototype that significantly simplifies the birth registration process in an easy, reliable fashion.

According to Professor Jan Eloff, Research Expert and Elmarie Venter, Senior Researcher, at the SAP Innovation Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, “SAP’s challenge was to develop a simple mobile birth registration application prototype to enable a responsible individual, with the help of a mobile phone, to register the birth of any child within 90 days. We hope to secure the buy-in of the Kenyan government and then ultimately roll this out elsewhere in Africa in the future.”

According to the Births and Deaths Registration Act, more or less 1 447 000 live births took place in Kenya per year from 2005 to 2010. Births registered in rural areas throughout the world are worryingly low. Each year more than 50 million babies worldwide remain invisible. In sub-Saharan Africa only two out of three children are registered and are therefore in the long run denied their right to an identity and fulfilment of additional rights and protection as citizens. Proof of identity is essential to gaining access to basic services and exercising fundamental human rights anywhere in the world. Failure to register a birth means that citizens have no access to basic services such as health, social security and education.

Until now, only half of Kenyan births have been registered and the only option has been a time-consuming, difficult and expensive manual one which led to long processing times and analysis of the collected data. Kenyan Civil Registration Department offices are not always easy to reach and the citizens sometimes have not understood the benefits of having a child registered.

When a baby is born, an Acknowledgement of Birth Notification (ABN) is sent to the registrar of vital events in Kenya by a birth attendant working at a health institution like a hospital or clinic. Sometimes the government administration can also send the notification if the birth occurred at home. With SAP Africa’s Rural Births Registration app, citizens would be able to register newborn babies in a simple, timely and reliable way at The Kenyan Civil Registration Department, responsible for the registration of births and deaths in Kenya. This app is available on a smart phone integrated with SAP Cloud-based technology. This could easily be accessed by any health care worker or representative from government to register babies born in each district.

With the rapid rate at which mobile networks are expanding in Africa, the number of mobile phone subscribers in Kenya is growing exponentially and consequently so is the rate at which innovative mobile applications are being developed. This new SAP technology offering brings a pressing social issue and technological innovation together in a hands-on, simple to use fashion that can significantly impact peoples’ lives in Africa.

“Birth registration is a fundamental right for all children and as such it is contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; thus placing an obligation on states to ensure this right. SAP’s Rural Births Registration application seeks to support these rights and improve the lives on citizens as a result,” commented Eloff.

Speakers at the Connected Kenya event, where the SAP Africa prototype is being demonstrated, include Andrew Waititu, SAP’s East Africa MD, who gave the keynote address. He talked about how forward-looking government organisations in the region are looking to embrace innovative technology to help them become truly strategic. SAP Africa will also be demonstrating various kinds of technology solutions at the event, all of which can significantly improve the lives of Kenyan citizens. ”Through innovative technologies SAP Africa is committed to enabling both central government and the counties to prosper and improve the lives of all citizens,” commented Waititu.

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