By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo

The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has donated protective equipment to the National Bureau of the Civil Status abbreviated better known by its French acronym as BUNEC.

The Representative of UNICEF to Cameroon, Jacques Boyer, recently handed over the equipment to the Director General of BUNEC, Alexandre Marie Yomo, in Yaounde.

The gifts comprised of 1000 face masks, 61 handwashing buckets, 61 antiseptic soap, buckets and 61 small tables. 

The equipment is to help the staff of BUNEC to better protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic.

While handing over the gifts, Jacques Boyer, said the gifts are aimed at supporting the efforts of the Government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to reaffirm the fundamental mission of UNICEF, which is to promote and protect the rights of the child.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the major challenges for humanity and requires us to adjust our behaviour and habits so that we can cope with them and meet the basic needs of children. These needs take into account all the rights of the child, which are inalienable. They must, therefore, be guaranteed in any circumstance. One of these rights is birth registration, which is essentially a continuous and universal service,” Boyer said.

He added that registration at birth is a fundamental right and allows the child to have a legal identity and to enjoy the other fundamental rights.

“…, UNICEF reiterates its commitment to support these various efforts aimed at satisfying the human rights of children so that the harmful effects of COVID-19 do not come to compromise them. If civil registration services are not sufficiently supported, strengthened and equipped to ensure the continuity of service, many children would have their right to registration violated, which would make them more vulnerable and exclude them further,” he added.

He noted that the current situation challenges everybody in the world but said “it should lead us to deepen the reflection on birth registration in the current context, in a city which according to health estimates this year, has 3.2 million (including 1.4 million children and 40,440 live births expected). It is true that the demand for service is the same in urban areas as in rural areas, but we must work to ensure that the supply is of quality and available.”

Receiving the gifts, the Director General of BUNEC, Alexandre Marie Yomo, thanked UNICEF for the gesture and said the gifts will go a long way to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He added that the equipment would be distributed to all the centres in Mfoundi Division so that work can continue despite the pandemic.

According to information, the gesture from UNICEF Cameroon is just one of the many taken to support the Government in the fight against the coronavirus.