New software for Birth Registration Unit

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Abubacarr Sillah, a young Gambian software engineer and programmer, and Gibril Jassey, both based in the United Kingdom, last Friday presented some software and equipment worth over D1.3m to Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, vice president and secretary of state for Women’s Affairs, at her office at State House in Banjul.

The software has the capacity to take care of the entire birth and death registration and certification details of the whole country, and it is earmarked for the Birth Registration Unit of the Department of State for Health and Social Welfare. The system, according to the engineer, is user friendly and can run either on a standalone computer or on a network environment. It can also support the decentralisation of birth and death registrations without compromising consistency and efficiency. The system, among other things, will enable the unit to control the data redundancy and consistency and provide data security as well as instant accessibility of data, when and where necessary.

Speaking at the ceremony, Abubacarr Sillah said he and his counterpart jointly did this as part of their own contribution to nation building. He said they were inspired by the work of President Jammeh who is dedicated and committed to transforming The Gambia into a beacon of hope and seat of technology in Africa. According to him, the donation was as a result of his visit to The Gambia in 2004, when he went to the Birth Registration Unit to get a replacement for a lost birth certificate. "All that they had to do was to manually go through the files to retrieve my particulars," he said.

Sillah added that some of them abroad are convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that the country under the leadership of President Jammeh is well on course to industrialisation. Lamin Fatty, deputy head of the Birth Registration Unit, gave a brief overview of the current status of the unit. According to him, the process of birth registering in The Gambia started way back in 1819. He said over the years, it has been very difficult to maintain the records, because of the materials and nature of storage facilities they have at their disposal as well as the demand from the public.

The government, he added, is trying very hard to make sure that the birth registration system is revitalised, citing the integration of birth registration into the RCH, which makes the system more accessible to people. According to Fatty, the government recently registered about 40,000 births. "This shows that they want the registration to be at the doorsteps of all Gambians," he said, revealing further that plans are also in place, both at the national and international level, from birth to death, and that there will be only one identification number for each individual to ensure that there is a unique identity number. For her part, Vice President Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy described the gesture as generous, adding that it will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the government.

According to her, the Gambian leader puts health high on his priorities towards achieving the Vision 2020 goals. She further spoke of the achievements registered in various sectors under the administration of Professor Jammeh, saying that the present administration has since its inception sent a good number of students for overseas studies.

She further spoke of the importance of ICT, which she said is critical, noting that the Gambian leader has introduced the Science and Technology Academy in Kanilai. The ceremony was chaired by Dr Tamsir Mbow, chief medical director, RVTH, and director of the Presidential Treatment Programme.
Author: by Musa Ndow