Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has revealed that the ministry is about to launch another high profile project, called the Electronic Birth Notification System.
This system will tackle current discrepancies faced by government in ensuring that all Namibian citizens are registered immediately at birth. Presently, only 60 percent of all births occurring in Namibia are registered shortly after birth, while a unique identifier is only allocated at the age of 16, when the applicant applies for his or her identification card.
Iivula-Ithana made the remarks yesterday during the 3rd Government Forum on Electronic Identity in Africa. She said the system will be a joint project between the Office of the Prime Office Minister, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration and the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
The purpose of the e-birth notification system, she explained, is to electronically notify the National Population Registration System (NPRS) as soon as a birth has occurred. “The notification will be done by the nurse who facilitated the delivery of a baby,” she added.
Other potential benefits she mentioned are that it will ensure verification of the mother’s identity, as it is linked to the NPRS, as well as improve data quality and production of vital statistics. Currently, she said, government relies on birth projections for the calculation of birth statistics and birth registration statistics.
She said the first electronic border management system was introduced in 2009, and is currently being upgraded to a new version. The commissioning of the new border management system, she said, will be on September 1, 2017.
She further said the ministry is planning to introduce the electronic passport shortly thereafter and boasted that the ministry has a proven track record in terms of innovative system development and implementation.
“We aim to continue being a leading agent in this regard. We have in the past 10 years strived to digitalise all our civil registration and immigration processes in order to enhance customer service delivery, identity management and migration facilitation,” Iivula-Ithana noted.
The first system to be digitalised was the identification document system in 1996. In 2009 a new web-based and integrated NPRS was designed, building on the existing identification document system as an integral component.
She said the integrated electronic NPRS was implemented from 2011-2014 and incorporates the birth and death register, the marriage and identification document register under one demographic profile. Today, she said, the NPRS is fully operational and has overcome all its childhood illnesses.