By Thoraya Ahmed Obaid

Every country counts its people. The numbers tell decision-makers about current and future needs.

“Everyone counts” is the theme for this year’s World Population Day.

If people and their characteristics aren’t counted, governments can’t plan. If identification is not granted, it is impossible to track progress over a lifetime. If a birth certificate indicates a need for schooling, that informs the education system. If death records specify, to the extent possible, cause of death, health systems can be oriented to meet actual needs. If death records specify causes related to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, pregnancy and childbirth, specific health services can be prioritized. Government planning depends on local and regional information that is supplemented by interviews with the groups most concerned. Such data makes it possible to meet real needs.

Good data is critical for evidence-based policies and programs for improving people’s lives. Yet while timely and reliable data is routine in richer countries, many resource-constrained developing countries struggle to conduct the censuses and surveys that they need for effective planning.

click HERE to read full article