In spite of the obligations of government to register all births, levels of birth registration across the developing world remain critically low. In most countries there is lack of capacity to track major life events such as births, death and marriages. Birth registration is the first step in securing legal identity and accessing other basic rights like education, health and social protection. A birth certificate provides the documentary evidence required for things such as school enrollment, graduating, voting, inheriting and obtaining a passport. Data gathered through civil registration produces vital statistics: these create accurate assessments of economic growth and poverty levels of a country and are a means of measuring global targets. CRVS is therefore a high priority globally for supporting human rights, policy planning and good governance.
What is the solution?
Following their collaboration on the development of the online CRVS-Digitisation Guidebook and the Ghana CRVS Digitisation project, Jembi and Plan International continue to work together on developing innovative solutions for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems. Our proposed solution is to develop an open source standards-based software solution to provide for civil registration and population data needs in low resource settings. The OpenCRVS platform will be free and adaptable for different country contexts. The software is intended to be easy to deploy, user-centric and requiring minimal skills for customisation, maintenance and support.
What is OpenCRVS?
OpenCRVS will be an Open Source standards-based solution for civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system that registers vital events including all births and deaths, issues birth and death certificates, and compiles and disseminates vital statistics, including cause of death information.
The OpenCRVS team is focused on developing a working prototype application to demonstrate to stakeholders and potential funders how an open source CRVS system could be utilised to improve vital events registration coverage, streamline civil registration and vital statistics processes, monitor performance, and integrate data from multiple systems. The OpenCRVS prototype is intended to show the advantages of open-source software, an agile software development methodology and the use of data exchange standards to support interoperability.
The prototype showcases how data from the healthcare sector, such as immunisation data, can trigger a birth notification within OpenCRVS and then tracks how that data is used throughout the Civil Registration (CR) processes, resulting in the production of a birth certificate for the newborn child. It demonstrates interactions with other systems, such as mobile money apps for the payment of a certificate fee, and the sending of SMS notifications to the mother to notify her when the child’s birth certificate is ready to be collected. An important feature of OpenCRVS is the data-driven management dashboard where CR managers can view key performance indicators for their staff, such as registration coverage rates per district and time taken between birth registration and the collection of the birth certificate. The prototype also demonstrates how aggregated data from the Civil Registration service can be easily accessed by the national Vital Statistics agencies to produce accurate and timely vital statistics.
Our vision for OpenCRVS
- Open source so there are no license fees or vendor lock-in
- Provides the flexibility of adopting and extending existing open source components.
- The software is agile. It will continually evolve as countries go through the implementation lifecycle, strengthening the core product.
- It has multiple access methods to ensure community level registration and account for different connectivity levels and infrastructure requirements in low resource settings.
- It is interoperable. It is designed to integrate data from multiple government systems, such as health information systems and population registers. It is designed to work as a component within “open” information exchange specifications.
- Its free so funds can be better directed to customisation and contextualisation
- It uses widely available technologies so local resources can be used for development and maintenance making it affordable
- Scalable to meet national needs
Standards-based: CRVS + Technical
- User-centric: reflects the realities of local contexts and the capacity of end users.
- Secure: security of end users and their data as a fundamental design principle.
- Flexible/modular: easy to configure in a wide variety of country contexts.
- Inclusive: accessibility for the hard to reach by design.
- Resilient: designed to withstand shocks caused by natural disasters and crisis
OpenCRVS is being jointly built between PLAN international and Jembi Health Systems NPC with support and input from a wider community. For more information on OpenCRVS and getting involved please contact us.