The Ghana Health Service is to begin digitally tracking and monitoring all pregnant women across the country to ensure all new born babies receive a national ID number at birth, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed.
This has become possible following the ongoing linkage of the data of the National Identification Authority, Ghana Health Service, Birth and Deaths Registry, Ghana Statistical Service, and the Ghana Police Service to create a comprehensive database of all persons residing in Ghana in order to help in policy formulation and planning, and help with the issue of national ID numbers and cards.
Vice President Bawumia made the disclosure at the launch of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Thursday, 10 February 2022.
To aid the tracking, the Ghana Statistical Service has agreed to hand over 13,000 tablets used in the recent national Population and Housing Census to the Ghana Health Service and will also provide other logistical support to the health workers, the Vice President added.
“These tablets will track pregnant mothers from antenatal clinics until birth. What we are trying to do is that immediately a child is born, the data will be transmitted to the Births and Deaths registry, and the NIA who will both record it. Then the NIA will immediately issue a National Identification Number for the child,” he explained.
“Starting sometime this year, we are quite advanced, the Ghana Health Service will announce the exact start date. So we will have that linkage between the NIA, the Ghana Health Service, the Statistical Service because they need that data of who has died, who has been born, etc. The Police also record a lot of deaths on our roads and other places, this is why they are also linked into the system so that they can also report, so that we have a comprehensive data.
“We expect this system to be rolled out this year so that the Ghana Card number will be the unique identifier. What all this will mean is that at any time, if all of this data is available, we will have a pretty good estimate of our population in Ghana and this will therefore likely change the nature of the census in the future. Once we know, say 2020 this is the record, and so far this year so many people have been born, and so many people have died, then we know what the net numbers are.
“This is a major new system that is coming, and it will help Ghana going forward.”
Vice President Bawumia commended the founders of the Institute for their vision, pointing out that a study of populations and its demographics play a very crucial role in policy formulation and planning, and alumni of RIPS have been playing leading roles in Ghana and across the world.
“At the national level, the role of RIPS in contributing to the implementation of the National Population and Housing Census has been immense.
“In addition, the contributions of scientists at RIPS to the development of major national policies are noteworthy, one of which was the recent reappraisal of the Coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies (CPESDP), which is the National Development Planning framework for Ghana.
“I am also aware of your efforts in many areas of Population, Health, Environment and Development, working with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to implement intervention projects in poor communities along the coast of Accra. The extension of your support to COVID-19 adolescent returnee migrants in the Tamale Metropolis is very profound and worthy of commendation.”
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, announced plans for a year-long celebration, and urged alumni across the world to participate and contribute to the debates and symposia.