January 15, 2013
Bedside registration at hospital soon – Deputy Registrar

In an effort to combat the problem of delinquent mothers who refuse to register their newborn babies, the registry department will soon implement bedside registration.{{more}}

This will now see employees of the Registry Department registering newborns within hours after birth.

Deputy registrar Lekeicha Caesar-Toney told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday there are a lot of “delinquent” mothers who refuse to come in to register the birth of their babies.

“This new process will help babies to get an identity. A lot of children are in St Vincent without identities. That means they do not have a name. They were never registered…” Caesar-Toney said.

Caesar-Toney said that among other things, one of the many challenges the Registry Department has faced over the years is clerical errors, which result in the incorrect registration of particulars of birth.

“The current system that is in place is inefficient, because we have two notebooks, which are moved from between the Registry and the hospital … You might find that sometimes the mother comes here (Registry) to register the baby, but that particular notebook is at the hospital, which means the mother can’t register the baby that day,” she highlighted.

The deputy registrar further mentioned that there are instances where nurses at the hospital do not ask for the identification card of the mother, the particulars come to the registry in the notebook and are incorrect.

“Sometimes the father’s name is incorrectly spelled and then we would have to write a letter to the hospital asking them to correct it in their books and send it back to us …

“This takes time. It frustrates people. So sending one of our agents to the hospital, they will know exactly what they are looking for, which will be more efficient…” she explained.

Bedside registration was originally scheduled to commence yesterday, but the Registry Department faced a few minor setbacks, Caesar-Toney said, but added that the new process will be implemented over the next two months.

She said this new process will increase the department’s efficiency and accuracy, and enhance the timely registration of births.

As part of the intended process, pregnant mothers will have to bring to the hospital their identification card, marriage certificate (if married), decree absolute (if divorced) and proposed baby names in correct order.

It was also encouraged that the father of the child visit the Registry’s employee at the hospital or at the Registry department to have his name inserted as father of the child.

Caesar-Toney said once all the information is gathered at the hospital and the registration process is completed, the mother will receive a copy of the forms.

“All the documents you get here at the Registry, you will be getting them at the hospital. That would save the mother from coming to the Registry to do anything thereafter, other than to get a birth certificate.”

Caesar-Toney indicated that the new process will not only help babies to obtain an identity, but it will also assist the government in planning.

“Birth registration is important in giving newborns an identity and providing proof of existence. It is key in assisting the Government in planning and providing essential services to meet the needs of the population … If you are never registered, then you are never counted.”

In the instance of persons who were never registered, Caesar-Toney explained that they can come to the Registry and someone will go through the records with them.

“They could go to an attorney or to the Attorney General’s office who does legal aid and they can have their name entered in the registry system by virtue of a statutory declaration. No matter how old the person is, they can have it entered,” she said.

A meeting was held yesterday at the hospital with staff and other hospital officials to discuss the new process further.