The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hospitals may issue birth, death papers

Obtaining birth and death certificates may get a lot simpler in the days to come. Hospitals — instead of civic bodies — may soon issue birth and death registration certificates directly. A special officer appointed for the purpose is likely to issue the certificates.

The state government is considering implementation of the suggestion made by the registrar-general of India. “We received a letter from the office of the registrar-general a fortnight ago suggesting that the method be introduced in state-run hospitals. The state government is now examining ways in which it can be implemented. It would make the process of obtaining birth and death certificates simple and prevent people from being harassed repeatedly,” said Aloke Mukherjee, director of state Bureau of Health Intelligence, on Saturday.

According to the present system, births and deaths are first recorded in hospitals or nursing homes — the place where these “events” take place. The health institution concerned then sends these records to municipalities and municipal corporations (in urban areas) and panchayats (in rural areas), from where birth and death certificates are then issued.

But in reality, the process is hardly as simple. Delay is often caused due to negligence on the part of the hospital and civic authorities. “We keep receiving letters from municipal bodies and state-run hospitals blaming each other for delays,” Mukherjee said. Either the hospital authorities do not send birth and death records to municipal bodies on time due to a huge backlog, or the civic bodies do not issue the certificates promptly, he added.

As per the present proposal, an employee of a state-run hospital can be appointed or re-designated as a sub-registrar of births and deaths by the registrar of a civic body. A registrar can issue this appointment with the approval of the director of health services, who is also the chief registrar of births and deaths. The director of the state Bureau of Health Intelligence, on behalf of the director of health services, can choose the hospital employee so that the chosen name is forwarded to the local civic body for its approval.

The hospital staff appointed as the sub-registrar would issue birth and death registration certificates at the hospital on behalf of the local civic body. “We are looking at the possibility of issuing birth certificates of mother and child or death certificates for a deceased along with the along with discharge documents,” Mukherjee said.

The health department will also have a formal discussion with the municipal affairs department for a decision on implementation of the new system.

“There is however, a small difficulty. We have to sort out whether the official would be an employee of the civic body or continue to work under the hospital,” he added. Also, the process will take some time to be implemented at all medical colleges and hospitals, state general hospitals, district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, block primary health centres and so on.

Nearly 98 per cent of the births is registered in the state, while the figure is about 55 per cent for death registration.

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