A delegation of a cross-section of Senior Management Staff of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) led by its Director General Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI on Monday 31st August, 2023 met the Deputy Resident Representative and Technical Team of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at the UNFPA Country Office in Freetown. The UNFPA is a lead player in the implementation of CRVS and a key Partner to the NCRA.
Welcoming the NCRA delegation, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNFPA, Ms. Sibeso Mululuma expressed delight on behalf of the UNFPA country team and informed the NCRA Team that the Resident Representative of the UNFPA was out of the country but assured the NCRA of their commitment to renew and strengthen collaboration and cooperation with the Authority in the implementation of CRVS with particular interest in Maternal and pregnancy related deaths occurring both in and outside health facilities in the country.
In his response, the Director General Mr Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI thanked Ms. Sibeso for the warm reception, committing the UNFPA to collaborate with the NCRA in the recording of Maternal deaths and Vital Statistics. He added that UNFPA’s engagement with the NCRA will answer many questions asked at international conferences about their involvement in CRVS in Sierra Loene. The Director General also disclosed that in most international conferences and sessions NCRA attends “we are always reminded of the critical role UNFPA plays in Civil Registration and Vital Statistics especially in the areas of Maternal and pregnancy related deaths including data on the characteristics of the event’’. He furthered that the NCRA has been making frantic efforts before now to harness collaboration with the previous UNFPA Country Representatives of the UNFPA, maintaining that the meeting was a continuation of those engagements hoping that the engagement under the current UNFPA leadership will bear fruits the Director General added. The DG-NCRA, further added that the meeting aims at identifying and discussing possible areas of interventions focused on strengthening collaboration and fostering partnership with UNFPA in view of supporting CRVS especially in recording and reporting real time Maternal deaths across the country. Mr. MASSAQUOI informed the meeting that the NCRA has over the years embarked on recording Vital Events and their characteristics including maternal deaths at District levels and, where possible, collaborate with Partners including Local Authorities to support the process at Chiefdom and other lower levels in order to access accurate and real time data. Mr, MASSAQUOI noted the cooperation of Traditional Authorities since their engagement on their role in CRVS especially in the registration of Births and Deaths; the two events cannot go unaccounted for in any community as they are both superintended by the Local and Religious Authorities in communities hence the criterial role of the Authorities.
Ms. Mululuma informed the meeting that the UNFPA expect to receive funding from the Global Facility Financing (GFF) that will have some components of CRVS but request the NCRA to prioritise its needs for inclusion into the Country Proposal for the World Bank GFF Support that will be done later this year.
Giving a brief background about the NCRA, the DG MASSAQUOI pointed out that it is the responsibility of the Authority by Law to account for all Vital Events and their characteristics occurring in the population in the county. This, Mr. MASSAQUOI added is done in all NCRA Offices across the sixteen Districts and are fully functional with support from Government of Sierra Leone and its CRVS Partners primarily EUD, UNICEF, UNDP and Irish Aid.
Presenting a briefing note on NCRA priority areas, the Director of Births and Deaths Mrs. Grace Harman highlighted specific areas of possible collaboration with the UNFPA which include Staff and Institutional Capacity building to record maternal deaths and death registration in general, Vital Statistics, Verbal Autopsy for uncertified Cause of Deaths, Data Collection and Analysis, Community Awareness and Engagement, Medical Certification of Causes of Deaths, ICD 11 Training and Coaching for Cause of Death Statistics, Sharing Best Practices and collaboration to conduct Joint Research, Advocacy and Policy Support, Support Births and Deaths Monitoring and Evaluation, Joint Resource Mobilisation, Assessment and Research, Support Coordination Meeting (Steering Committee and Technical Committee/Working Groups), Digitization of CRVS Records (Past and Records), Production of Vital Statistics Report among others.
The Deputy County Representative, Ms. Sibeso assured the Director General and his team that the areas identified are of interest to the UNFPA but advised that the NCRA engages and collaborates with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to move some of them forward in order to avoid duplication and waste.
The meeting ended with assurances from both Institutions of commitment to implement and manage CRVS with success in Sierra Leone where real time data will be cultivated, analysed and utilised to guide Policy interventions. The meeting recognised the timely intervention of Dr. Romesh Silva, Senior Technical Specialist, Health and Social Inequalities, Population and Development Branch, UNFPA headquarters, New York, USA.
Closing, the Director General – NCRA, Mr. Mohamed Mubashir MASSAQUOI shared copies of the NCRA Newsletter with the UNFPA covering May 2022 to January 2023 activities of the Authority.
(C) IEC DIRECTORATE, NCRA