Malawi: Demographic and Health Survey 2015-16

Published: 1/Feb/2017
Source: DHS Program


In 2009, the Malawian Parliament passed the National Registration Act of 2009. The law states that a parent must register a child’s birth within 6 weeks. In the parents’ absence, others must take responsibility for registering the birth of a child; this includes the head of the household in which the child was born, anyone who was present at the child’s birth, or anyone in charge of the child. Those registering a birth after 6 weeks incur a fine. To register a birth, a parent or other representative must complete a birth report and deliver a copy to the district registrar. A mother can acquire a birth report from a health facility after giving birth, during her postnatal check-ups, or at the time of the baby’s first immunisations. Upon receiving a birth report, the district registrar enters the birth in the birth register and offers a birth certificate.

Table 2.10.1 presents information on birth registration of children under age 5. At the time of the survey, 67% of children under age 5 had births registered with the civil authority; this includes 17% of children with birth certificates. The percentage of children whose birth has been registered is higher among children under age 2 (71%) than those between age 2 and 4. Children in urban areas are more likely than children in rural areas to have their birth registered. Birth registration is higher in the Northern region (75%) than in Central and Southern regions (66% each). For the majority of children whose birth were registered, the process was not completed as required by the National Registration Act of 2009. For 9 in 10 children (91%) whose births were registered, the birth was registered at a health facility (Table 2.10.2); this means that they received a birth report but did obtain a birth certificate from a district officer.

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Themes: Birth Registration
Regions: Malawi
Year: 2017