Electronic Birth Registration in Bangladesh

E-government projects have a success rate of only 15%. Thus far, these development initiatives have been Imagechallenging to implement in countries that lack ICT infrastructure and overall stability. One of the rare successes was a project in the Rajshahi City Corporation,the fourth largest city in the country, that allowed for birth records to be added electronically making them much easier to access and more uniform. The birth records then not only served as identification but could also be used by other departments to possibly record immunizations or school enrollment.

The direct cost of implementing this system was 20,000 US dollars, with only a 200 per month fee to maintain the system. There was improvements in both enrollment and vaccinations after the program, as well as a reduction in statistical errors based on registration. The new system is much more organized and efficient and a great example of how just a small project can have last effects.

The factors that allowed for this project to be a success seem to be its small nature, many projects are too ambitious and wind up failing because of this. The project also was simple, but effected many areas, which allowed it to have growing returns. It is easy to maintain and also easy to replicated. It does not require teaching of technologies except to a very few data entry personnel and requires no great shift in organization which makes it easy to understand. More egoverment projects like these will lead to more efficient government.

case study by Moshtaq Ahmed

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About katy11

Studying abroad in Ghana for the semester, one wonders how this will pan out? View all posts by katy11

One response to “Electronic Birth Registration in Bangladesh

  • Ed Resor

    This report in the Bangladeshi paper indicates that the project had only 60% of the births registered by 2013 twelve years after the start of the project. That does not look good enough for success and the target of the last 40% by the end of 2013 does not seem reasonable.

    Digital birth-death registration by this year-end in Rajshahi
    Financial Express (Bangladesh) Published : Thursday, 04 July 2013
    http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMDdfMDRfMTNfMV85MV8xNzUxOTg=

    “Panel Mayor of RCC Shariful Islam Babu, who addressed the discussion as the chief guest, said around sixty percent registration works were already brought under online process and the rest forty percent is expected by hardly the yearend.”

    I think the application was written in 2001 and the case study was written in 2002, about a year after the start up and before mobile phones took off in Bangladesh. at the end of 2012 there were about 100 million or 63% penetration. (That seems a bit high given the age distribution of the population. 100 million may count operator exaggeration and abandoned prepaid numbers.)

    Have you hear of births being recorded with text messages over cell phones? I think the millenium villages in Kenya may be piloting this.

    Hang in there. There is lots of interesting, challenging, and rewarding work to do.

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