A Lot of People in Africa and Asia Live and Die Unnoticed

Oct 29, 2007
Most Asians and Africans are born, live and die as though they never existed. They do not appear in statistics, documents or any legal records. A lot of countries considered poor have their registration systems inactive. This information was provided by Dr. Philip Setel, who works in Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, USA. The statement was published in his Who Counts? series, which can be found in the latest issue of The Lancet.

Although the worldwide official development assistance reached a huge sum of $ 80 billion in 2004, the authors of the work explain that there is not enough vital statistics to be able to find authoritative evidence, which can illustrate how this money really influence such problems as poverty and mortality.

There is definitely a significant benefit from a system that includes civil registration (medical certification of deaths, their causes and statistics). Legal records and documents, besides helping the citizen in getting state benefits, also can set up property ownership, inheritance and keep the citizen safe from exploitation.

"The persistent failure to establish, support, and sustain civil registration systems over the past 30 years, and to ensure that causes of death are accurately known in the world's poorest countries is a scandal of invisibility, for which affordable remedies exist and need to be implemented," explain Who Counts? authors.

There are various examples found in the paper explaining how statistical information and legal documentation are important for policy formation. For example, the data regarding the deaths from road traffic in 1970s was very important and served well for creating laws on speed limits, seatbelts, alcohol use and other important peculiarities. This led to a significant fall in traffic mortality.

A better birth control monitoring data helps the population of India to monitor the progress of the population. Such monitoring was able to reveal some unpleasant data, including the degree of selective abortions.

Despite the fact that global AIDS epidemic awareness grows, the authors mentioned that there is still no worldwide urgency to register people and make them more visible for help. "Far from advancing into this century, the inadequate state of civil registration in developing countries remains mainly as it was three decades ago," the authors mention in the paper.

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