The public was expecting to be updated on the ongoing facility assessment and verification of health workers and related issues by the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) at the Ministry of Information and Communication virtual press briefing. The nation, the media and international audiences were glued to the updates scheduled for yesterday, 4th June 2020, at 1 p.m. as was expected to be live on SLBC TV and MIC Facebook page and SALTV on Facebook. Alimamy Lahai, a medical practitioner, pointed out that most of them have been working without proper documents, which they have been trying to rectify with NCRA. He said the fact that it was on social media that assessment and verification briefing will be made at government press briefing, he said they bought credit and subscribed waiting to listen to the information from the source. Lahai said they were waiting online even prior to the scheduled time just to be abreast with content of what was to be said but expressed disappointment when the update “never was” and no official reason nor apology was made to the public from either NCRA or the Government. Mamusa Jalloh, a Community Health Worker in one of the Peripheral Health Units in the provinces, said she completed her verification process with NCRA but their names are yet to be published. She said most of them are worried and they wanted to use the briefing to make sure of their records. She said the Ministry of Information and Communication should verify and confirm with ministries on their weekly briefing before putting such messages to the public. Jalloh said most people are at home as a result of the coronavirus fight and they had time for social media and to participate as citizens on all online activities. She noted there is an information gap leading to the spread of wrong, misleading information on social media especially from government, it becomes worrisome for the public. According to the media alert from the Ministry of Information and Communication, “Please join the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) virtual press briefing today 4th June 2020 at 1pm on the link below: https://gims-govnet-gov-sl.3cx.net/open/f8b70bd4ddad66ec424ef6528b5e9a27f8416ae5. The Director General of NCRA will “Update the press on the ongoing facility assessment and verification of Health workers and other related issues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.” The alert said, “Also live on SLBC TV and MIC Facebook page and SALTV on Facebook. You can be part of the virtual briefing by sending text messages on the number to be announced.” The acting Director of Communication in the Ministry of Information, Emmanuel Turay, said the Director General of NCRA was supposed to attend the virtual press briefing but it was difficult for the Ministry to have them online but however assured that the said updates will be reschedule upon confirmation from NCRA.
By Mohamed Kabba