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Introduction

The purpose of this report is to provide a brief introduction to the civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems in Senegal.

The information was collected through a questionnaire completed by the National Directorate of Civil Registration of Senegal in February 2019 and supplemented by desk research. The report presents country level stakeholders activities and resources available and needed to strengthen CRVS systems, coordination, among others.

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Senegal

Disclaimer: The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Country profile

Senegal is located in the far west of the African continent. It is bordered in the north by Mauritania, on the east by Mali, on the South by Guinea Bissau and Guinea, and in the West by the Atlantic Ocean. It surrounds the Gambia on three sides. Topographically it is a flat country, with altitudes rarely exceeding 100 metres. The country is crisscrossed from east to west by four rivers: Senegal, Gambia, Casamance and Saloum and their tributaries. It is covered by Sahelian desert or grasslands in the north and heavier vegetation in the south and southeast.

Senegal has fourteen administrative areas. The list of these areas and their estimated population in 2019 is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Senegal’s projected population size by regions, 20191

Regions

Population

Regions

Population

Dakar

3,732,284

Kaolack

1,155,433

Diourbel

1,801,991

Kedougou

184,275

Tambacounda

841,518

Kolda

796,582

Saint-Louis

1,063,542

Louga

1,032,645

Thies

2,105,707

Matam

706,037

Fatick

870,361

Sedhiou

553 005

Kaffrine

703,555

Ziguinchor

662,179

1967222

TOTAL SURFACE AREA (SQUARE KILOMETERS)

16

POPULATION (MILLIONS)

20191

70%

POPULATION LIVING IN RURAL AREAS
Capital City
Dakar
Official working language(s)
French
Ministry responsible for civil registration
Ministry responsible for civil registration
Ministry of Territorial Governance, Development and Spatial Planning
Civil registration agency
National Directorate of Civil Registration (CNEC)
National statistical office
National Agency for Statistics and Demography (ANSD)

CRVS Dimensions

Birth

Completeness of birth registration

   

(N/A)
Children under 5 whose births were registered

77.4%

(

20173

)
Births attended by skilled health professionals

68.4%

(

20173

)
Women aged 15-49 who received antenatal care from a skilled provider

97%

(

20173

)
DPT1 immunization coverage among 1-year-olds

96%

(

20164

)
Crude birth rate (per 1,000 population)

36

(

20164

)
Total fertility rate (live births per woman)

4.8

(

20164

)
Adolescent fertility rate (per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years)

74.9

(

20165

)
Population under age 15

42.9

(

20176

)

Death

Completeness of death registration

  

(N/A)
Crude death rate (per 1,000 population)

6

(

20164

)
Infant mortality rate (probability of dying by age 1 per 1,000 live births)

33

(

20177

)
Under five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1,000 live births)

45

(

20177

)
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births)

315

(

20158

)

Marriages and divorces

Marriage registration rate N/A
Women aged 20-24 first married or in union before age 15

9%

(

20174

)
Women aged 20-24 first married or in union before age 18

31%

(

20174

)
Divorce registration rate N/A

Vital statistics including causes of death data

Compilation and dissemination of CR-based statistics N/A
Medically certified causes of death data N/A

Civil registration system

Legislative Framework

The civil registration of Senegal is governed by Law No. 72-61 of 12 June 1972 of the Family Code. Through this code, a system of decentralized organization and operation of the civil registration system was set up and management was conferred to local authorities. This law, which entered into force in January 1973, covers births, marriages and deaths. It is silent on divorces. The law covers all regions of the country and the entire population including foreign nationals and refugees.

The law specifically mentions that a statement of events occurring each quarter (of the year) should be sent to the national statistical office at the end of each quarter for compilation and dissemination9.

 

Management, organizations and operations

National CRVS systems coordination mechanisms

Senegal has a high level national civil registration steering committee. This committee is chaired by the Prime Minister and includes the ministries directly involved in the CRVS systems. The members are: Ministry of Territorial Governance, Development and Territorial Planning; Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Health; National Agency for Statistics and Demography; Ministry of National Education; Ministry of Good Governance and Child Protection; and National Agency of Early Childhood.

Technical Working Group

A technical committee responsible for developing the national CRVS improvement strategic plan has been set up with membership from each of the ministries represented in the steering committee. The technical committee was set up by a decree of the Minister in charge of civil registration.

Administrative level registration centres

In Senegal, civil registration centers are located in the municipalities. The municipality is the lowest level in the administrative hierarchy of the decentralized organization. Senegal has 587 civil registration centers. Each municipality has a main civil registration center and, if necessary, a secondary center may be created by order of the Minister in charge of civil status based on a request from the Mayor of the municipality. The mayor is the Chief Civil Registration Officer. The mayor can also delegate the registration activity to one of the councilors or municipal agents. Thus, there are about 1520 local registrars in communes and rural districts (communautés rurales) of Senegal10.

A district delegate or a village Chief serves as a civil registration auxiliary and provides notifications of the occurrence of vital events to informants. The municipality issues notebooks to these civil registration auxiliaries for the recording of vital events11. For vital events occurring abroad, ambassadors and counsellors serve as registrars.

Accessibility of civil registration services

Most households in Senegal live less than 5 kilometres from the local civil registration centre.  Thus, a person can do less than an hour on average using public transport such as bicycles, motor cycles or carts to get to the civil registration center in the municipality. On foot, it could take up to four hours for those who live at the furthest distance from the registration centres. 

When additional centres are warranted because of population pressure or other reasons, the law allows for the opening of secondary registration offices to improve services. It should also be noted that in each district or village, the district delegate or village chief is authorized to receive declaration of vital events. This saves informants on the time and cost required to visit a civil registration centre. 

Registration of vital events

In Senegal, registration of vital events is compulsory and free. Form No. 1 is given free to the informant at the time of the recording of the act.

The issuance of a certificate or a copy of an act for births, deaths and marriages is subject to a fee which varies from 200 CFA francs to 500 CFA according to the registration centers. The fees are decided by the Municipal Council of each municipality and in most cases, it amounts to the cost of stamps that need to be affixed on the certificate.  

Vital events

 Fees for issuing certificates

Certificate cost

Remarks

Yes

No

Birth

Yes

 

USD 0.6 (300 CFA)

This could vary depending where it is issued.

Marriage

Yes

 

USD 0.6 (300 CFA)

 

Death

Yes

 

USD 0.6 (300 CFA)

 

Note: 1 Central Africa Franc (XAF) = 0.0017 US Dollars

Backlog of unregistered births

Information not available.

Interface with other sectors and operations

In Senegal, several sectors interface with the civil registration activities as producers or users of data. The health sector plays an important role in the registration of vital events. Health workers are involved in raising awareness of the importance of registration of vital events. According to the civil registration law, they are expected to provide notification of the occurrence of births and deaths. In the case of births, the number on the birth certificate of the child is also entered in the health record. With the support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the notification of the occurrence of births and deaths and the recording of the required and related information on the event is being tested in health facilities in 3 regions of the country. The recorded information is then transmitted to the civil registration officer of the municipality.

Concerning national identification managed by the Ministry of the Interior, a unique national identification number exists and is used on national identity cards and driving licenses for insurance and passport purposes. However, the unique identification number is not linked to the civil registration system.

In addition, there is a quarterly statement for the collection of statistical data. This statement is sent to the appropriate department at the end of each quarter.

Vital statistics system

The Statistics Act has special provisions for the collection, compilation and dissemination of vital statistics of the civil registration system12. In ANSD, the Civil Registration and Population Projection Sub-Office is responsible for compiling vital statistics. This sub-office compiles data on live births, marriages and deaths from the vital registration system and other sources. A report on vital statistics was published by ANSD in 201513.

Causes of death

Cause of death information is not collected through the vital events registration system. Verbal autopsy tools and other methods are not yet used to collect information on causes of death.

Digitization

Computerization

Senegal is modernizing its CRVS systems with the support of development partners. In this context, proposals have been made to review and update the existing civil registration legislative and regulatory framework to support the implementation of innovative technologies to improve the registration process. Thus, a bill is ready for amending and supplementing the provisions relating to the civil status of Law No. 72-61 of 12 June 1972 on the Family Code and other related laws. 

Computers are currently used in the registration of vital events at some of the country's civil registration centers. Currently, there are more than 100 computerized civil registration centers in both urban and rural areas. These centers have local servers as well as external media, such as hard disks and flash disks, for backups of recorded data and for the transfer of data to the national civil registration office.

Mobile technology application

In order to capture and register all vital events, the Government of Senegal with the support of UNICEF is experimenting with the integration of mobile telephones between health facilities and civil registration offices. An application called RAPIDPRO is implemented in regions in southern Senegal. As a first step, RAPIDPRO was used for birth notification by health workers. Telephones are now used in the capture of birth registration information at the local civil registration centers, particularly in the Kolda region.

Improvement initiatives and external support

Improvement plan and budget

Strategic plan

Senegal is yet to develop a CRVS improvement strategic plan. A comprehensive assessment is planned to understand the current strengths and weaknesses of the CRVS systems of Senegal. The recommendations that will emanate from the assessment will be the major input in the development of a strategic plan for the improvement of the country’s CRVS systems.

Budgetary requirements and allocations

Information was not available on the current budget requirement and government allocations.

Support from development partners

The Senegalese government is supported in its effort to improve and modernize its CRVS systems by several development partners such the European Union, UNICEF, Spanish Cooperation, Austrian Cooperation and ECA. These partners are expected to be involved in all phases of the improvement process assessment, strategy development and strategy implementation.  

Partners such as the European Union are supporting the establishment of a national database linked to the identity card. This requires the computerization of all the centers as well as the training of the agents in local registration offices and the capacity building of the National Office of Civil Registration staff. It also aims to improve the quality of services at the vital statistics centers and to allow the collection and transmission of data in a simple and continuous manner. UNICEF is supporting the integration of mobile telephones for the transmission of vital events and related information.

Computerization; training; sensitization

Training, computerization

Technical and financial support especially focused on early childhood

Computerization

Proposals to improve coordination

The National Office of Civil Registration has provided the following proposals to improve the coordination activities among key national CRVS stakeholders and between national offices and development partners.

Among national actors

  1. Strengthen the existing national coordinating mechanism; and
  2. National institutions involved with civil registration activities need to be mindful of their responsibilities.

National institutes and development partners

  1. Inform the National Office for Civil Registration before the implementation of any activity related to civil registration in the country;
  2. Work with the National Office for Civil Registration to better target the actions and priorities meant to improve CRVS systems; and
  3. Put in place a mechanism for the harmonization of partners’ support and interventions to improve CRVS systems in the country.

Additional Materials

Websites

Additional materials

Baba Diop. 2012. Le fonctionnement et la gestion de l'État Civil au Sénégal: Études de cas les Collectivités Locales de Tivaouane et de Pire-Goureye. University Cheikh Anta Diop Of Dakar. Retrieved on April 4, http://atddlgeo-ucad.org/documents/memoire_2012/BABA_DIOP.pdf

Dior Fall Sow. nd.  La réforme de l'état-civil au Sénégal: enjeux et perspectives. [The reform of civil status in Senegal: issues and perspectives]. Association des Juristes Sénégalaises. Retrieved on April 4, http://www.partagider.com/public/PDF/2013/Reforme-de-l-etat-civil-Dior-Fall-Sawt.pdf

Conclusion

The National Agency for Civil Registration is working with development partners and national actors to modernize the CRVS systems. As CRVS systems cut across several sectors of government, it is critical to have working coordination among the key national actors that need to be actively involved. Senegal has a well-defined existing coordination mechanism compared to many African countries. However, the coordination is currently rather weak and needs to be reinvigorated. The success of CRVS systems is also dependent on how well-structured and organized the anchor agency for civil registration is. In this context, it is important to strengthen and empower the national agency responsible for civil registration. ANSD is wellorganized but it needs to be strengthened and work with CEPAL and MOH towards the production of reliable and timely CR-based vital statistics.

Since 2012, many African countries have developed a costed strategic and action plan following the recommendations of the second Conference of Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration. Senegal is poised to join the other countries. In order to respond to the needs of the public and requirements of the government, it is imperative to conduct a well-designed comprehensive assessment that is tailored to the needs of the country and investigates the supply and demand sides of CRVS system. A well-designed assessment  is a prerequisite for informed strategic plan.

Endnotes

  • 1. a. b. Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD). http://www.ansd.sn/. Accessed on March 7, 2019
  • 2. UN. 2018. Demographic Yearbook - 2017. https://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic-social/products/dyb/dyb_2017/. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/47.
  • 3. a. b. c. Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD) [Sénégal], et ICF. 2018. Sénégal : Enquête Démographique et de Santé Continue (EDS-Continue 2017). Rockville, Maryland, USA : ANSD et ICF. https://dhsprogram.com/publications/publication-fr345-dhs-final-reports.cfm
  • 4. a. b. c. d. e. f. UNICEF. 2017. The State of World’s Children 2017. https://www.unicef.org/sowc2017/
  • 5. World Bank. 2018. Adolescent fertility rate. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/sp.ado.tfrt
  • 6. United Nations. 2017. World Population Prospects. Volume-II: Demographic Profile. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2017_Volume-II-Demographic-Profiles.pdf
  • 7. a. b. United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (2018). UN IGME. Total Under-5 Mortality Rate, Infant Mortality Rate and Neonatal mortality database 2018. http://www.childmortality.org/
  • 8. World Health Statistics 2016: monitoring health for the SDGs, sustainable development goals. https://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2016/en/
  • 9. Government of Senegal. 1972. Loi n°72-61 du 12 juin 1972 portant Code de la famille
  • 10. ANSD-CNEC. 2017. Rapport d’analyse de la cartographie des centres d’état civil du Sénégal.  October 2017.
  • 11. Government of Senegal. 1972. Circulaire n°125/MINT/CAB/5 du 6 décembre 1972 sur la réorganisation du service de l’État civil
  • 12. Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie. http://www.ansd.sn/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=259
  • 13. Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie. 2015. L’enregistrement des faits d’état civils au Sénégal: mariages, naissances et décès. http://www.ansd.sn/ressources/rapports/ RAPPORT%20ETAT%20CIVIL%20DEC%202015-BECPD.pdf