(Freetown, Sunday 2 August 2020) – The National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) has with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Embassy of Ireland /Irish Aid conducted a two-day training on digitization of past and present births and deaths records for NCRA regional staff at regional offices across the country. The goal of the digitization of past and present births and deaths records is to meet the guidelines set by the United Nations and for international best practice in civil registration, vital statistics and identity management.
The training was conducted concurrently in the regional headquarter cities of Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Port Loko from the 1st to 2nd August 2020. The participants, regional staff of the NCRA, were taught skills in unbinding of facility books, numbering of pages in order, book numbering generation, scanning, data entry, bounding of inputted books and quality control.
In Makeni, the lead facilitator of the training, Mr. Ngagba Andrew Baimba, the Deputy Director of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) explained to the NCRA regional staff that the essence of the training was to capacitate them with skills to understand how to manage the processes and procedures of digitizing past and present births and deaths records in the country. He also informed them that the training was a learning platform for staff to have a clear picture of how to capture births and deaths records electronically.
“The training will serve as an eye-opener and a guide to the process of digitization of past and present births and deaths records in the country and a reference point for you all when the work would have actually started,” Mr Baimba informed.
The Deputy Director of ICT encouraged the participants to take the training seriously and give their best throughout the course of the training and reminded them that the entire digitization process required utmost concentration and keen attention.
Mr. Baimba told the participants to always endeavour to input into the system the information that has been recorded on the books as any attempt by staff to add, subtract or alter any information during the course of the process, will automatically change the entire personal details or status of that individual. He spoke of the importance of the digitization process and encouraged participants to commit themselves to the process as it is time bound and imperative to treat the training with all seriousness.
He informed that the digitization process was crucial to the role of the NCRA for national development, international best practice and will serve as a deterrent to the concept of one man having multiple records.
“The digitization process will enhance clarity and safe keeping of such vital records by the NCRA upon completion and therefore, the need for you all to give 100% focus and dedication to the process is a must,” he emphasised.
Other trainers in Makeni included the Senior Operations Manager, Mr. Abdul Malik Bangura who told participants that the two-day training on digitization of past and present births and deaths records was crucial for every staff of the Authority to be familiar with if we are to conform with the guidelines set by the United Nations for digitizing records. He reiterated the need for participants to pay attention to the training and the subsequent digitization process, noting that there will be no room for errors.
“The need for all staff to always maintain professionalism, credibility and diligence during the course of executing your duties cannot be overemphasized,” Mr. Bangura said.
Explaining the various stages of the digitization process, Mr. Bangura said that the process has about seven stages which every book has to go through before reaching completion or reaching to the archiving section. Mr. Bangura added that when the books are retrieved from the entry point which are Government (PHUs, CHCs, hospitals) and private health facilities), they have to be stored. He added that the other steps in the process are the unbinding of facility books, numbering of pages, book number generation, scanning, data inputting, binding of inputted books and quality control. He also told the staff to use abbreviations or acronyms at the top of each facility book to enhance effective and efficient work and for ease of reference.
Making a presentation on the software application of the digitization process, ICT Officer, Moses Sallu Kanneh, emphasized the importance of the software application to the process and informed that the software application contains some components of the seven stages of the digitization process which has made the process flexible and user friendly.
Mr Kanneh said that the digitization software is securitised and encrypted in a way that it tracks the progress and work of every staff at the District and any attempt to beat the system will be noticed.
Mr Kanneh encouraged the staff to support the process which was challenging and time consuming and informed that the software application does the bulk of the digitization process which does the scanning and the inputting of data. The lead facilitator in the North West Regional city of Port Loko, Mr. Allieu Kallon, the Deputy ICT Director provide similar training on the digitization of births and deaths records and its importance in the management of identity. The technical training was done by Mr. Sallu Janneh, the Senior ICT Officer who explained to the Staff the various steps in the digitization steps: book registration, scanning and data entry.
In the Southern Regional headquarter city of Bo, the training of staff was led by the Deputy Director of Identity Management, Mr. Mohamed Konuwa. The technical training was offered by Mr. Harry Kallon, the Authentication Officer at the NCRA. The Eastern Region training was conducted at the NCRA office in Kenema. It was facilitated by Mr. Henry Swaray, the Chief Technical Officer. Mr. Abraham Turay, Manager of Policy, Planning and Legal Affairs was part of the training team.
The Director-General of the NCRA, Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi was in attendance at the training in Kenema. He cautioned the staff to be careful in doing their work and encouraged them to make every effort to understand the digitization process for an effective outcome of the program.