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Vital Stories

Everyone Counts – Registering Births and Deaths in Bangladesh

The challenge in Bangladesh of registering every birth and death continues. Many familiar challenges to Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) improvement are found in the country. These include rural barriers to accessing healthcare facilities, traditional customs in birthing and death, and limited healthcare workforce capacity to report all births and deaths into the CRVS system, to name just a few.

Despite these obstacles, a rural sub-district in Bangladesh, Kaligonj, has committed to registering every birth and death. They plan to do this using a model developed with input from the Data for Health Initiative team. In Bangladesh, registration of births and deaths is compulsory within 45 days of the event. However, low levels of completeness persist. Kaligonj’s objective is to improve birth and death reporting, as well as to register these vital events at the local level.

The Data for Health Initiative has been coordinating with community government representatives from Kaligonj to develop a program that coordinates efforts among local government and registrars within each municipality in the district. The program launched in August of 2016. Each month, village leaders and registrars in each of Kaligonj’s municipalities will meet with a two-fold objective: i) to report and aggregate their numbers in births and deaths, and ii) discuss new approaches to encourage notification and reporting of births and deaths among village residents.

The hope is to promote uptake in registration of vital statistics and streamline the process. In addition, these statistics will enable the Bangladeshi government to understand Kaligonj’s birth patterns, leading causes of death, and population health challenges.