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CIVIL REGISTRATION AND VITAL STATISTICS

IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

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24 Jun 2022
CRVS Champion: Dr. Muhammad Asif
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Newsletter: CRVS Insight July 2022

This month, our community newsletter would like to highlight Dr. Muhammad Asif, a CRVS Champion who has contributed remarkable efforts to support CRVS programmes in Asia-Pacific, raise awareness of CRVS issues and lead CRVS policy improvement in Pakistan.

What is your current title and role?

I am working as Chief Health at Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives. My areas of expertise include public policy, strategic planning, and monitoring & evaluation. I examine and process mega development projects for consideration of the competent forum for approval. I pioneered initiatives which include acceleration and enhancement of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics in Pakistan for which I developed National CRVS Revamps and Reforms Framework. I am the National CRVS Focal Person and leading the implementation of the project titled Strengthening of CRVS System. This project will pave the way for achieving universality and harmonization of births and deaths registration with NADRA and strengthen union councils in registration of marriage and divorce through the revamped system. I also developed the Institutional and Policy Framework for the Deworming Initiative in Pakistan which is the guiding document and served as the basis for deployment of the first ever mass level deworming drive in school-aged children in Islamabad. The initiative is currently being expanded in the rest of the country. My role in CRVS is to guide policy-related matters and oversee the overall implementation and coordination of CRVS reforms. Being the focal person of CRVS I participate in all National and International CRVS forums.
 
Can you please share with us a particular experience which highlighted the importance of CRVS to you?

Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives is responsible for developing the National Vision, formulation of Broad Policy Framework, and undertaking Strategic Planning. This requires continuous, latest, and up-to-date statistics to enable informed decision making and evidence-based policy and planning.  Also, Pakistan is a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a huge wealth of data and information for various targets and indicators of SDGs can be easily derived from the vital events registration records.  The CRVS system in Pakistan was fragile, dysfunctional and fragmented. Therefore, I initiated the dialogue for the development of the Universal CRVS system in Pakistan. Starting with a needs assessments in various thematic areas of CRVS, the Government of Pakistan started a journey towards a robust, responsive and uniform CRVS system in Pakistan.
 
How are you currently involved in CRVS improvements?

The CRVS project is initiated and progressing under the health section of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives. Being the chief/lead of the health section, I am also supervising CRVS implementation at the national level.
The national Steering and coordination committee was formed with the chairmanship of the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives to steer and coordinate CRVS progress at the national level. I have developed a National Framework for CRVS Reforms in Pakistan. We are transforming Islamabad (Capital of Pakistan) into the CRVS model district by implementing all CRVS reforms. Other than this, currently I am involved in the development of the National Strategic Plan on CRVS, CRVS Act, and the National CRVS report for Pakistan.
 
How would you like to see CRVS in Pakistan develop by the end of the CRVS Decade?

In harmony with Vision 2030, outlining that “By 2030, all people in Pakistan will benefit from universal and responsive CRVS systems that facilitate the realization of their rights and support good governance, health, and development”, Pakistan is following paradigm shift in terms of shifting responsibilities of registration from individuals/families to the state and mainstreaming of health sector in the CRVS system, under the ‘National Framework of Vital Events Registration Reforms’. Intersectoral collaboration and development of effective linkages among concerned departments and institutions is the key to obtain data on vital events and generate trustworthy statistics.

Which advice would you give to others trying to improve CRVS systems?

Intersectoral collaboration and development of effective linkages among concerned departments and institutions is the key to obtain universal CRVS systems and generate trustworthy statistics.

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