Each month, our community newsletter puts a spotlight on one person from Asia-Pacific who has gone above and beyond in their efforts to support CRVS programmes, raise awareness of CRVS issues or lead CRVS improvement efforts in their home country. This month we are delighted to highlight Ms. Fathimath Riyaza from the Maldives.
What is your current title and role?
I am currently the head of Demographic and Social Statistics Division at Maldives National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). I am mainly involved in conducting population and housing census, strengthening social statistics and improving vital statistics in the country.
Can you please share with us a particular experience which highlighted the importanceof CRVS to you?
Improving vital statistics has been an ongoing effort of the government, but without much importance. While working as part of the country team for UNESCAP's project on ‘Strengthening national capacity in producing and disseminating vital statistics from civil registration records’, I realized the need for timely dissemination of vital statistics and the importance of addressing the challenges that cause delays. With this aim, we have been able to bring together all the key stakeholders involved in this process and to establish a national coordination mechanism for CRVS in the country. It is also during this process that we have been able to ensure the smooth transition of vital registration from the previous system to the new Vital Registration System (VRS). Different agencies have been working non-stop even during the pandemic to ensure the successful roll-out of the new system and to make sure every birth is registered.
How are you currently involved in CRVS improvements?
As national focal point for CRVS and in my official position, I am responsible for improving and coordinating CRVS activities in the country. This includes liaising with donor agencies for funding, coordinating work among different government agencies. We have been able to establish the national coordination mechanism as a technical committee and we ensure all matters are discussed among the members.
As part of my work related to coordinating all CRVS related work within the government agencies, my main projects now include:
- Provide support to Department of National Registration in preparation for CRVS bill which will be enacted soon.
- Provide support to the development of reporting module from the new VRS system and closely coordinate with Ministry of Health on the outputs
- Monitor and report on CRVS related funding received from UN agencies
- Work closely with national consultant on UNESCAP project ‘Assessment, Analysis and Redesign of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Processes’.
How would you like to see CRVS in Maldives develop by the end of the CRVS Decade?
Since 2018, we have been working closely with relevant stakeholders to roll out the new VRS system and have been able to achieve it in 2020. My hope is that with this milestone, we will be able to achieve registration completeness, issuance of birth certificates within one year and have regular vital statistics reports available for effective policy decisions.
Which advice would you give to others trying to improve CRVS systems?
Keep striving. Your countless efforts do make a difference. Begin with looking at how the system functions now, identify ways of improving civil registration. Start reporting with whatever available data. Demonstrate to policy makers the importance of having a good functional CRVS system in the country. Ensure sustainability of all CRVS work and always engage with national coordinating mechanism for CRVS related matters.
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