5 reasons why birth registration is so important

A boy showing off his new birth certificate.

Plan International's working to ensure children, like Francisco, have their births registered, so they can access their rights to healthcare, education and more.

A recent Plan International study estimates that 51 million babies are not registered at birth. Without a birth certificate, children may lack access to services like health care and education. A lack of recognition and support will ultimately make life more difficult for children as they grow older.

Yet, a simple birth certificate we take for granted in Canada can change a child’s life. Here’s how:

  1. It opens up a world of health care. Every year, millions of children die from preventable diseases before they reach the age of five. Unregistered children are often unable to gain access to health care services or pay more for those services than a registered child. But a birth certificate means a child can access medical treatment and the vaccinations he or she needs to stay healthy.
  2. It means an education. Without birth registration, a child can be kept from participating at school. But with a birth certificate, a child will have the necessary documentation needed to enroll in publicly funded schools.
  3. It can provide protection. Without identification, government officials have no documentation of a child’s existence. As a result, the law is incapable of protecting children from crimes and abuse. But effective birth registration protects children and provides them with their legal rights.
  4. It can help provide an inheritance. If an unregistered child’s parents pass away, they need to legally prove they are related  to inherit their family property. But with birth registration, a child will have the legal proof of their family ties, ensuring they receive what belongs to them.
  5. It creates a permanent record of existence. If a disaster strikes and a child is separated from his or her family, a reunion could be next to impossible without proper identification. But with birth registration, government officials can safely unite families and prevent any child from going unaccounted for.

Protect a child's rights

A birth certificate gives a child easier access to a number of key social services and provides a child with an identity of their own. Plan International is calling for every child in the world to be registered, as a major step in ensuring children can access their basic rights.

Help provide children with their birth certificates