All is set for the historic issuance of Ghana Card personal identification number (PIN), better known as Ghana Card numbers, to newborn babies in Ghana, Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has announced.
This follows the successful integration of the databases of the Births and Deaths Registry, the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
Tackling age falsification
This will help tackle age falsification, a fundamental aspect of the NIA’s drive to compile a single credible national identification database for Ghana.
First baby issued PIN on Friday, July 21, 2023
Dr Bawumia, who made the disclosure, said the first such Ghana Card number was issued to a newborn baby on Friday, July 21, 2023 after a successful test run of the system.
Speaking at the 75th Anniversary celebrations of Ghana National College, Dr Bawumia said “The work of integrating the databases has been completed, the full test was done yesterday, and i am happy to say that the first Ghana Card number for a baby was issued yesterday.
“So in the next month or two, all babies born in Ghana, once they take them to Weigh In, will be issued the Ghana Card number and also get their Birth Certificate Identification number at the same time, because the two databases are talking to each other.
“The nationality of the parents will be established as part of the process” he explained.
“This is very transformational,” Dr Bawumia noted, explaining that they will have these numbers from the time they are babies till they pass away.
Ghana Card to be issued to them at age 6
But they can only be issued Ghana Cards at six years because that is the time their fingerprints are fully developed to enable biometric capture.
Prevalence of age falsification in Ghana
This stage of the NIA’s work is critical as it begins the process of eliminating age falsification experienced in football, civil service recruitment, job retention, unilateral postponement of retirement, high level corporate management jobs, sports competitions, qualification for foreign scholarships for post-graduate degrees, and enlistment into the security forces, where a lower age is a precondition for eligibility, consideration, acceptance, retention and promotion.
PIN to be issued 6 weeks after birth
Information on the system indicates that the issuances of the PIN will take place during immunisation of the baby, which takes place six weeks after birth.
Immunisation schedule in Ghana
The current Expanded Programme on Immunisation schedule recommends Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) at birth.
A dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) is given at birth followed by subsequent immunisations at six, 10 and 14 weeks.
Role of baby naming ceremonies
The six-week period before issuing Ghana Card PIN to babies is to give parents ample time to perform naming ceremonies, a vital Ghanaian culture.
Therefore, by the time the baby is due for immunisation in six weeks, the name of the baby is expected to be ready to facilitate the issuance of Ghana Card PIN.
Data captured by GHS
The day a baby is born, Ghana Health Service (GHS) system captures the date, time and place of birth, gender, weight at birth, and the name of parents into its database and same information is recorded on the weighing card of the baby.
Mother should go to immunisation with Ghana Card
Therefore, the mother of a new baby is expected to visit a health facility for immunisation six weeks after giving birth with her Ghana Card and the name of the baby.
A GHS official at the health facility will take the mother’s Ghana Card number and record the PIN.
Live photo of mother and baby
The GHS health official will also take a live photo of the mother and a separate live photo of the baby.
Information to be transmitted to NIA
The live photos of the mother and her baby, date of birth, time of birth, place of birth, gender, weight at birth of the baby and the name of the parents will then be transmitted electronically to the NIA through an application programming interface (API).
Gadgets supplied to all health facilities
All health facilities have been provided with electronic gadgets with the API installed and designated officials trained on how to undertake the process.
Live biometric verification of mother
The NIA will then undertake biometric verification of the mother using the live photo taken at the health facility and her Ghana Card PIN.
Retrieving mother’s digital identity from NIA’s database
The NIA will also verify the photos to establish that they are live photos and then use the Ghana Card PIN of the mother to retrieve her digital identity from its database.
Verifying biographic information
The NIA system will also verify the biographic information of the mother, comprising full name, date of birth, gender, citizenship, digital address, names of mother and father, hometown, phone number, occupation, and languages spoken.
Comparison of live photo with facial biometric data in NIA database
The NIA will then compare the live photo taken at the health facility with the facial biometric data in its system.
If the data matches and the mother is a Ghanaian, then the NIA will move to the next step.
Data mismatch will abrogate process
However, if the data of the mother transmitted from the health facility does not match the data in the NIA system, the process is abrogated.
Process will be suspended if mother is a foreigner
Also, if the data matches but the mother is not a Ghanaian, the NIA will abrogate the process because babies of foreigners are not to be issued PIN.
NIA to send response to health facility
When the process is abrogated because the data of the mother transmitted from the health facility does not match the data in the NIA’s database or the mother is not a Ghanaian, the NIA will send a response to the health facility through the API.
But, if the data matches and the mother is a Ghanaian, the NIA will go ahead and process the information on the baby.
Father to go through process if mother is a foreigner
If the mother is not a Ghanaian but the father is, then the father needs to go through the live verification process, instead of the mother, for the issuance of a national ID number to be given to the child.
Verification of baby’s data
After successfully verifying the mother, the NIA will also verify the data of the baby transmitted from the health facility to establish whether it already exists in its database or not.
Process to be abrogated if baby’s data already exists in NIA’s database
If the verification shows that the data of the baby already exists in the NIA’s database, the process is abrogated and a response sent to the health facility.
Baby’s data to be linked to mother’s data in NIA’s database
However, if the outcome of the search shows that the data of the baby is not already in the system, then the NIA will link the data of the baby to the mother’s data in the NIA’s system.
NIA to generate PIN for baby
The NIA system will then generate a PIN for the baby, which will be linked to the mother’s Ghana Card PIN and then shared with GHS.
Live verification done digitally and in real time
The live verification process of the mother and child takes place digitally and in real time.
Live verification data distributed to all relevant authorities digitally
The data is distributed to all relevant authorities digitally and within seconds, with each data set bearing the same verification code and tailored to what data they are entitled to receive by law.
Baby’s PIN added to GHS information system
The GHS then adds the baby’s PIN to the information it has also captured about the mother into its system.
Child to be taken to NIA centre at age 6
When the child turns six, the mother has to take the baby to the nearest NIA registration centre.
Retrieving baby’s data and updating it with fingerprints, iris, and photo
At this point, the baby’s data captured during immunisation at six weeks will be retrieved from the NIA database and updated with biometrics of fingerprints, iris, and photo.
Ghana Card printed for child with same PIN
The NIA will then print a Ghana Card for the child at age six with the same PIN issued six weeks after birth.
What if the mother dies before six weeks?
In the unfortunate event of the mother dying as a result of giving birth to the child or any other causes before the second immunisation, any other family member who has a Ghana Card, including the father, can go through the same process for the NIA to issue a PIN to the baby.
Role of Births and Deaths Registry
The Births and Deaths Registry will then use the Ghana Card PIN issued to the baby and the relevant information captured in the NIA’s system to print birth certificate for the child.
1.2m children under age 5 not in any official document
An estimated 1.2 million Ghanaian children under the age of five are not registered in any official document.
1 in 4 children never registered in Ghana
The birth of about every 1 in 4 (28.89%) children in Ghana has never been registered.
Universal birth registration is a component of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16.9, but will need to accelerate significantly to meet the 2030 goal.
Dr Bawumia emphasized that the issuance of ID numbers at birth was an integral part of Government’s ongoing digitalization agenda, designed to prepare the nation to fully partake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Ghana Card is increasingly becoming the single source of proof of identity, with the unique number serving several purposes including as the Social Security, Health Insurance and Tax Identification number.
Ghana National College
Hailing the impact Ghana National College has had on Ghana’s pre-and post colonial life, Vice-President Bawumia challenged managements, staff and students in educational institutions to embrace the possibilities offered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve teaching, problem solving and critical thinking, noting that it could be deployed meaningfully to bridge the gap between the developed and developing world.
“If we are in agreement that the boys and girls in our schools today are being trained to compete on the global stage, there is every justification for our students to be given exposure to AI.
“Government’s ongoing digitalization agenda is ample testimony of its appreciation of AI and the commitment to ensure that this country is not left behind.
“We have focused on pursuing digitalisation as part of our economic strategy because the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and we must be part of the modern world…
“Whilst Government will do its part by leading the charting of a pathway to the deployment of meaningful AI in our national life, I expect our educational authorities to devise and deploy innovative teaching strategies that factor in ICT as a key ingredient,” he added.
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