In the quiet village of East Shalmara, nestled in the Velabari union of Aditmari upazila in Lalmonirhat, a subtle crisis is unfolding. Arafat, a three-month-old infant, has received six vaccinations from the local government vaccination center. Yet, his birth remains unregistered, a scenario shared by many children in the region.

Anwara Akter, Arafat’s mother, and Ashraful Islam, father of four-month-old Ayan, shared their stories with Prothom Alo, shedding light on a common issue: the lack of awareness regarding the necessity of birth registration before vaccination. Both parents expressed their surprise when vaccination workers failed to mention birth registration during their visits.

The Office of the Registrar General issued a directive on July 31 last year, emphasising the importance of completing birth registration before commencing the vaccination program. The directive aimed to ensure birth registration within 45 days of a child’s birth, urging health workers to check birth certificates and note the registration number on vaccination cards.

However, field research reveals a stark reality: the directive’s effective implementation has not reached the grassroots level. Many health workers are unaware of the guidelines, and parents, like Anwara and Ashraful, remain uninformed. Officials point out a lack of publicity surrounding the directive, contributing to the issue.

Birth and death registration are compulsory under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 2004. The Births and Deaths Registration Guidelines 2021 were formulated to expedite the process. According to the law, birth must be registered within 45 days, aligning with the onset of the vaccination program.

The statistics from the Registrar General’s office tell a concerning tale. In 2023, only 9,78,276 children were registered within 45 days of birth, with a mere 8,048 registered on the first day. Officials label this birth registration rate as unsatisfactory, pointing to parental reluctance as a significant factor.

The urgency of acquiring a birth certificate for passport applications propels some parents to register their child’s birth promptly. However, the lack of awareness among parents in rural areas, compared to city schools, perpetuates the issue.

The birth registration conundrum poses a threat to the overall effectiveness of vaccination programs. As the vaccination schedule begins at six weeks of age, delayed birth registration hampers the timely administration of crucial vaccines such as Tuberculosis (BCG), oral polio vaccine (OPV-0), Penta-1, PCV-1, and OPV-1.

This unnoticed ripple effect of delayed birth registration has manifested as a life-saving vaccine crisis in rural communities. It is imperative to bridge the gap in awareness, streamline the implementation of directives, and highlight the significance of timely birth registration for the well-being of our children. 


Akhter, Naznin. (2024, January 22). Delayed fund release leads to life-saving vaccine crisis. Prothom Alo.


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