Ethiopia is the most populated landlocked country in the world, home to a wide diversity of ethnic groups and cultures. Despite being one of the least developed nations, Ethiopia has the twelfth fastest-growing economy in the world. The country has made significant gains in child survival since 1990, but it remains one of the top 10 countries with the highest absolute number of under-five deaths: over 536 children die every day.

Ethiopia does not have a functioning national vital events registration and vital statistics system: only seven percent of children under-five have been registered at birth. In response to the situation, the Government of Ethiopia has made efforts to establish a standardized vital events registration system in the country, and the adoption of a legal framework and institutional requirements has begun.

Due to the nature of this enormous undertaking, and the gap in financial and technical resources, the government has made a formal request to UNICEF for assistance to implement the system in the Amhara Region, which is home to nearly a quarter of the total population in the country.

Birth registration is important because it helps children access services and protects them from rights violations, such as early marriage. It will allow the government to know how many children are born and where so that they can effectively plan for services, such as immunization delivery.

Country Profile

  • Population: 90,076,012
  • Official Languages: Amharic
  • GDP per capita, PPP: US $1,380 (2015 estimate)
  • HDI: Low HD, ranked 173/187 countries (2014)

Key Objectives

Increase the number of children registered at birth, the first step to the realization of children’s rights, through strengthening the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics and Health Management Information System.

The Multiplier Effect

The 25th Team interventions will develop an effective approach for community level birth registration system using existing health services. This can be used as a model for the government to scale-up and implement across other regions in the country.

Key Activities

  • Build technical and institutional capacity of government institutions to effectively lead and coordinate the implementation of vital events registration interventions.
  • Provide training and support to improve and standardize information management systems.
  • Develop and deliver a communications strategy to increase public awareness on the importance of birth registration and to increase demand for birth registration services.
  • Improve the inter-operability and coordination of the civil registration and vital statistics and information management systems to enhance the coverage and quality of registration services.
  • Monitoring and evaluation to identify and address bottlenecks in project progress and record lessons learned for future scale-up.

The 25th Team Interventions will immediately benefit an estimated 3.3 million children.