Early birth registration can help children gain access to government services including health and education. Not having a birth certificate can put a child at risk of being trafficked or forced into labour.(Image: Isaiais Bartolomeu, Pixabay)There are numerous benefits to registering your newborn. They will be recognised as citizens and have access to a number of government services including health facilities, schools and social grants.Words by Shamin ChibbaDesign by Sandile KhumaloBrand South Africa recently hosted a media tour in Limpopo, showcasing the province’s competitiveness. Part of the tour was a visit to Seshego Hospital, where media were briefed on the Department of Home Affairs’ early child registration process.Seen as the first legal acknowledgment of a child’s existence, birth registration in South Africa continues to be a challenge for the home affairs office.However, the department is putting measures in place to ensure children are registered within 30 days of their birth. These include the deployment of mobile registration units that reach remote areas and an increased number of health facilities – from 100 to 398 – that are connected to home affairs.Already, the plans are working. In Limpopo, registrations for the first quarter of 2016/2017 rose by 12.7% compared to the same period in the previous year. Registrations went from 22 669 to 25 549, despite fertility rates declining in the province.South Africa’s fertility rate has been on the wane. In 2000, the rate was at 2.47 children born per woman. The rate has been dropping steadily ever since to a 2.23 children per woman.Presented below are statistics on fertility and birth registration in South Africa.