‘Welcome Baby’ – One of NRC’s Attained Objectives

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The “Welcome Baby” project has been promoted recently at the gynecological-obstetrics ward of the Kumanovo General Infirmary. Representatives of the Kumanovo hospital, the Health Ministry, and the Vital Records Department have issued birth certificates to two newborns.

This project is one of the attained objectives of the National Roma Center (NRC). In 2005, within the framework of its strategy, the NRC sought that every newborn should receive a free-of-charge birth certificate immediately after birth, regardless of whether his parents possessed the required documents. Throughout 2007, NRC worked persistently and intensively, publicly promoting this objective and sending recommendations to the relevant state institutions.

During the project promotion at the Kumanovo hospital, Deputy Health Minister Goce Chakarovski said that the project was to be implemented in all the 17 gynecology wards throughout Macedonia. He reminded that this project had been promoted a while ago at the Skopje Gynecological-Obstetrics Clinic (GAK) and then at the specialized Cair hospital “Mother Teresa”. The deputy minister informed that 91 birth certificates had been issued until that point, of which 33 at GAK, where a total of 466 babies had been born, and 58 at the Cair hospital, where 391 babies had been born.

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“This project will continue to expand. It is a joint project of the Health Ministry, the Electronic Healthcare Department, the Interior Ministry and the Vital Records Department. Teams of the Electronic Healthcare Department have visited the 17 gynecology wards in Macedonia to train and educate the personnel. I hope that this project will continue because it is aimed at helping parents receive a birth certificate within 48 hours of the birth of their child and before the mother and the baby are discharged. For this purpose, the parents should bring their IDs, express their wish to receive this document and, naturally, know the name of the newborn”, Deputy Health Minister Chakarovski said.

He stressed that the project was implemented to prevent parents from wandering from one counter to another but instead receive a birth certificate for their newborn at the gynecology ward where it was born.

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However, some parents do not pick a name for their newborn immediately because of a traditional custom, which can be noticed by the number of parents who have taken advantage of this novelty compared to the number of newborns at the Skopje and Kumanovo hospitals. A significantly smaller number of parents have decided to use this project, while other do not pick a name for their newborn straight away because of the traditional values and therefore do not take advantage of this project.

“Earlier, parents had to wait for the baby’s name for much longer, up to two weeks, but things have changed now because parents choose the baby’s name as soon as the mother finds out that she is pregnant. I, too, have chosen a name for my unborn daughter, which, fortunately, both my husband and my broader family like”, young Kumanovo resident Atidze Dz. says.

Marija Ch. from Kumanovo is due any time now and she says that she has been informed about this project, but she does not know whether she will use these benefits because her godparents live abroad.

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Vital Records Department Manager Gjoko Kotevski has stressed that this project will continue and the teams involved are cooperating “The system is functioning impeccably; we have enough personnel and our services are at the public’s disposal”, Kotevski says.

The parents should sign a statement approving of the processing of personal data with a valid ID within the first eight hours of the child’s birth. Both parents should sign the forms, but they should first agree on the child’s name and address.