GAMBIA – The Gambia, through the Ministry of Health, has rolled out new digital health solutions namely the Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) System and the National Health Insurance Scheme in a bid to improve health outcomes with better healthcare access.

The Gambia Government has introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme as part of ongoing efforts to make healthcare accessible and affordable to all Gambians and the registration process will last three months throughout the country at no cost to citizens.

On the other hand, the new system dubbed Civil Registration and Vital Statistics involves service providers, supervisors, data entry clerks and verification officers to ensure that the data given to each individual is going to be continuous, permanent, universal and confidential to the state.

The WHO CRVS Strategic Implementation Plan 2021-2025 aims to empower Member States to more effectively mobilize their health sector to lead, or contribute to, CRVS system strengthening efforts in order to ensure maximum benefit from routine data systems for policy and development.

According to the World Health Organization, a well-functioning Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System uses inputs into and exits from a population register to provide governments with critical information on their population by age, sex and location on which to develop policies and plan services.

The international public health agency highlights that good public health decision-making requires timely, reliable and actionable data on births and deaths including cause of death which involves data collected through CRVSs.

The launch of the first-ever digital birth and health insurance certificates in Gambia will ensure that applicants can access both documents anytime, anywhere upon submission and endorsement of one’s application for better health data management.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has called upon Gambians and residents to register for the newly introduced biometric birth certificate and Health Insurance Scheme after successfully registering into the new electronic systems at the State House in Banjul.

President Adama Barrow lauded the entire government particularly the Ministry of Health for introducing the Health Insurance Scheme, adding that the significant initiative would ease the challenges people face when they are sick and will provide necessary solutions.

The President stressed that the insurance scheme will play a crucial role in the healthcare system in Gambia, noting that the electronic birth certificate comes with the National Health Insurance Card to ensure Gambians have safe data record keeping.

Meanwhile, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) revealed that countries across the Eastern and Southern African region are applying both technological and non-technological innovations to improve their civil registration and vital statistics systems.

UNICEF further noted that the countries have developed reform policies for their national CRVS systems focused on increasing the number of registration points by decentralization of registration responsibilities to local authorities and health facilities.

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