A company in Burkina Faso is attempting to register all newborn babies digitally.
iCivil Africa a company based in Burkina Faso, has developed a birth certificate system which involves a smartphone, a bracelet and encoded text messages.The company hopes the new system will make birth certificates in sub-Saharan Africa more accessible this is an area where more than half of newborns currently go unregistered.
Co-founder Adama Sawadogo says he wants to help Africa’s “ghost children” who lack a legal identity due to not being registered and may be extra vulnerable. “It’s a major humanitarian problem. These ghost children are easy prey for traffickers.” In Burkina Faso, proof of the birth must be supplied on the day the baby is born, and being able to register the child remotely for those living in rural areas will help get more people registered, according to the company.
The system creates a digital birth certificate using iCivil’s Android mobile application and a bracelet with a unique code, called a Prooftag Bubble Seal, a patented technology produced by co-founder Francis Bourrieres’ company Prooftag, based in Toulouse, France.
Once the bracelet is put on the baby, a midwife scans the code using the app and enters the newborn’s details on the mobile interface. This is automatically sent in an encoded text message via iCivil’s platform to the civil registration authorities.
The baby is then registered in the system, and a birth certificate containing the ID code can be printed and collected from any civil registration center in the country upon presenting the bracelet.The same technology has previously been used as fraud prevention in French wines and is based on a unique identifier generated through a so-called ‘bubble code’.1,500 newborns were registered on the first trial using the system at 10 different health centers in Burkina Faso’s capital city.
With the first trial completed, iCivil are now in talks with Burkina Faso’s government about implementing the system nationwide at a cost of $20 million, which would include producing around 800,000 bracelets a year