The Director of Advocacy and Research at the Africa Centre for Health Policy, Ignatius Terrence Nnubeng, has described the protocols by the National Identification Authority (NIA) put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Eastern Region as impractical.
The National Identification Authority (NIA) has indicated that it will continue with the Ghana Card registration despite the misgivings from some of its officers because of the novel coronavirus.
The NIA has released guidelines for its officers in line with the government’s new directives on public gatherings to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ghana.
Ghana has so far recorded six cases of coronavirus.
According to Mr Nnubeng, it is safer to suspend the ongoing mass registration exercise for the Ghana Card.
Speaking on Citi TV’s Breakfast Daily Show, Mr Nnubeng said the NIA should not prioritize the exercise over the lives of Ghanaians.
“These are great measures but they are theoretical because you cannot practice them. If you have been to a registration centre you will find so many people sitting together on one bench so how do you expect them to observe these measures. Aside from that, you yourselves have placed it in your statement that you have not been able to procure the things for them and you will still want them to go ahead and do this, how is this possible? In the first place, the scanners they are using need to be disinfected after every single use and so, in this case, I think they should actually suspend it and wait for this whole thing to subside.
The NIA in an earlier press release asked registration officers to ensure “appropriate queue management techniques including numbering, appointment systems to ensure that no long ques emerge at any registration centre.”
Also, no more than 25 field officers are to be at a registration centre at a given time.
In dealing with applicants, officers have been directed to take the particulars of the applicants when they arrive at the centres.
“The applicants will be called to attend the registration centre at a specified date and time on an appointment basis,” the statement explained.
Officers are also supposed to “keep a social distance of two metres when interacting with the general public.”
The iris scanners which capture biometric data are supposed to be wiped down after each applicant uses them.
Officers are also supposed to wash their hands frequently.
The NIA will, however, be unable to provide sanitisers for the officers on the field because of “an acute shortage.”
“The procurement department is, however, intensifying efforts to procure sanitisers for distribution to field officials,” the NIA assured.
The Ghana Card registration is currently ongoing in the Eastern Region.
Even before this statement, scores of Ghanaians were seen at NIA registration centres earlier on Monday.