Determinants of birth registration among mothers in selected rural and urban communities of the Copperbelt Province, Zambia

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Chomba, Mwango B.
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University of Zambia
Background A birth certificate provides legal recognition of the identity of a child, and as such, birth registration in Zambia is compulsory. Data derived from birth registration is critical in health planning and research. Few births are registered despite being provided free of charge or at a minimal fee, estimated at 20.4 percent in urban areas and 6.7 percent in rural areas. The study therefore, aimed at examining determinants of birth registration amongst mothers/ guardians in selected rural and urban areas of Copperbelt Province. Methodology: A cross-sectional comparative study using a semi-structured questionnaire was conducted in selected health facilities of Luanshya and Masaiti Districts. Data was collected between January and February 2016. Ages of respondents ranged between 15 to 49 years and a total number of 382 women attending perinatal health services in government clinics were sampled. The women were distributed proportionately, between Luanshya urban district and Masaiti rural district, thus 72 percent and 28 percent respectively. Results: About 16.4 percent. of children in Luanshya District (urban) were registered as compared to 7.5 percent in Masaiti District. Parents/guardians living in urban areas were more than twice (OR=2.4; 95 CI, 1.1-5.3) with (p <0.028) as likely to register their children compared to those living in rural areas. The finding was statistically significant showing a strong association between residence and birth registration. Some of the problems associated with birth registration include awareness and poor accessibility to registration centres especially in rural areas where the distance between places of residence and registration centres was long and demotivating. The study suggests that there is need to examine the socio-economic barriers hindering parents/guardians to register their children. This study recommends collaboration between perinatal health services and birth registration services so as to improve the coverage of registration than it is now. Conclusion: Although a high proportion of respondents were aware of birth registration, the practice of birth registration in the two Districts was very low. Education attained and distance to registration centres significantly affected registration of birth registration.
Master of Public Health in Population Studies
Registers of births, etc.--Zambia , Children--Mortality--Statistical methods.