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Vital registration systems in Africa: Strategizing towards viability

Ethelbert Nwokocha, University of Ibadan

Against the backdrop of prolonged underdevelopment among most countries in Africa, this paper examines the non-viability of vital registration and statistics in the continent. The situation is explained by factors such as cultural beliefs and practices, non-use of orthodox medical facilities, poverty and lack of perception of the benefits of such exercise. As such, information on the population of most states is hinged on conjecture and baseless projections leading to haphazardness in development plans, policies and implementation. This situation is exacerbated by irregularity and non-reliability of censuses. Moreover, keeping population registers, which is an alternative, has not worked in any less developed society. This paper is an attempt to suggest new strategies that will enhance the rate at which African peoples and societies prioritize and undertake vital registration, to the point of viability, for effective planning. Sustainable development can only be achieved when population data are available and valid.

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Presented in Poster Session 3