Lost generation

Published: Saturday 15 August 1998

ONE CHILD in three is not registered at birth, leaving them without proof of identity or age that may deny them education, healthcare and even nationality, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The UNICEF says that a birth certificate is required for vaccination in at least 20 countries and for treatment at health centres by more than 30 nations. Often the reasons for lack of registration are practical.

According to Carol Bellamy, UNICEF's director, whether seeking health care or immunisation, entering school or proving one is too young for military service or to work in hazardous industries, a birth certificate is necessary. Many developing countries lack the technical and professional infrastructure to ensure all births are recorded.

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