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Shortage of birth, death certificates in Vihiga

30 September 2013, 18:59 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Vihiga County has been hit by acute shortage of both birth and death certificates for the last several months.

The area Civil Registrar, Joseph Owiti, said that there has been a dearth of the registration materials for the past four months as they are not promptly supplied by the national government as required.

“We have been receiving fewer materials, which have been cut by more than half in the past several months, which cannot sustain the high number of the people that we serve in the County,” Owiti said.

This followed an outcry by the members of the public who claimed that they have been incurring extra costs frequenting the offices at the County headquarters in Mbale to confirm if their documents are ready.

“I’ve been coming to the offices for the past several weeks looking for the documents, but mine have not been processed up to now. Travelling expenses are becoming expensive each day,” one of them said.

But Owiti said that the County offices are not to blame as the problem is being experienced in other Counties across the country.

“There have been cases where we have to borrow booklets of the death certificates from our neighbouring Counties,” said Owiti.

He noted that in the past, the County was being supplied with ten booklets per month but now, they are forced to be content with three booklets of birth certificates per month, which cannot serve the whole County.

He further said that the office spends many of the certificates processing late registration other than new births.

So far, Owiti said that he had 1000 cases pending from the 2570 that he had last month, and was supplied with three books which have 300 leafs each.

He also bemoaned their budget which has been slashed down severely by nearly a half, making their operations more than difficult bearing in mind that they do not have enough staff.

“We are only ten in the office, and we have to serve the whole County. It becomes difficult sometimes when the demand is very high,” said Owiti.  

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