Stakeholders in the health and security sectors have called for an increase in death notification and registration in Nigeria.
They made the call on Wednesday in Lagos at a one-day symposium organised by the Nigeria Police Force Pathology Office in collaboration with the National Population Commission (NPC).
They noted that while many Nigerians registered births, not many registered deaths, even after obtaining death certificates before burial.
They expressed the belief that good data on births and deaths would help for a proper national planning.
In his contribution, the Inspector-General of police (I-GP), Mr Usman Baba, said the symposium was to sensitise people of Lagos State on the need to increase death notification and registration.
Baba, who was represented by the Force Medical Officer, AIG Olubumi Ogunsanwo, said that the Lagos State experience would spread the news to other states of the federation.
He said the two agencies decided to start the sensitisation from Lagos State because of its strategic position in the country.
He explained that donors of the grant for the hosting of the programme specifically requested that Lagos State be a starting point.
“Lagos as a state has led in so many fronts; when you look at the management of COVID-19 and Ebola, the state has robust structures. That is why we are starting here so that we can synergies,’’ he stressed.
The I-GP said that in view of the event, the police would henceforth report death of suspects in their custody to the NPC in line with legal protocols.
In his remarks, the NPC Chairman, Mr Nasir Kwara, said that death notification and registration was very poor in all states of the federation, stressing the need for all to be sensitised on the issue.
Kwara was represented by Dr Dayo Layide, Director, Health and Planning, Research and Statistics of the NPC.
He called on the military, the police, para-military agencies, religious and traditional leaders to sensitise their followers on the need for notification and registration of death.
He noted that the NPC had about 4,000 registration centres at government health centres in all states, stressing that birth was recording about 50 per cent registration annually, while death only recorded 10 per cent.
The Force Pathologist, Dr Samuel Keshinro, said that there was the need for adequate sensitisation of the populace about death notification and registration through informants.
Keshinro said that apart from the medical doctors, any citizen from 18 years and above could notify and register the death of any relation, friend or associate.
He said information needed by the NPC in the event of death included the number of those who died and their identity.
He added that other information required were the cause of death to show the disease responsible and where the death occurred, to show environmental link.
He said about 5,922 deaths were registered in Lagos State in 2021, representing about four per cent of expected death registration (using the World Bank’s crude death rate calculations).
In his remarks, Force spokesman, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the Nigeria Police Force was harmonising its data base with the NPC, the FRSC and the National Identity Management Commission in the six geo-political zones.
Adejobi said that the harmonisation became necessary in view of security challenges, stressing that such central data base would help for forensic investigation by all agencies.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants at the symposium were drawn from the police, military, para-military agencies, medical, paramedical, religious and traditional institutions.
It had “Increasing Death Notification and Registration in Lagos State’’ at its theme.