The Ghana Medical Association is demanding an immediate suspension of the Ghana card registration in the Eastern Region.
The government of Ghana on Sunday, March 15, as part of efforts to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) announced new public gathering advisories without exemptions.
“All public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks.”
A statement signed by the President of the GMA, Dr. Frank Ankobea noted that, “in the interest of Public Health and Safety, the GMA calls on the National Identification Authority (NIA) to suspend with immediate effect the ongoing mass registration exercise in the Eastern Region. The mass registration exercise also defeats the spirit and letter of the directives (especially on mass gathering) issued by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana as part of the measures to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.”
“It is the considered view of the GMA that these mass registration activities by the NIA if allowed to continue could create a fertile ground for potential spread of COVID-19 endangering the lives of the staff of the NIA, the communities involved and the entire nation in the process. This will undoubtedly be fatal for the country.”
NIA to continue with registration exercise
The National Identification Authority (NIA) earlier this week said it will continue with the Ghana Card registration despite the misgivings from some of its officers because of the novel coronavirus.
The Authority 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.
Some NIA officers who had reached out to Citi News anonymously expressed concern about the absence of protective measures.
They say a single registration centre can be visited by 200 to 300 people a day seeking the Ghana Card.
New NIA preventive protocol impractical – Africa Centre for Health Policy
Earlier, the Director of Advocacy and Research at the Africa Centre for Health Policy, Ignatius Terrence Nnubeng, 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.
According to Mr. Nnubeng, it is safer to suspend the ongoing mass registration exercise for the Ghana Card adding that, 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.”