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Sierra Leone to get radiotherapy and cancer treatment machine

Sierra Leone to get radiotherapy and cancer treatment machine

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through its technical cooperation programme has disclosed plans to establish a radiotherapy center with a modern cancer treatment machine in Sierra Leone.  (Photo: Ambassador Stevens at the General Conference)

The move will not only improve the country´s health sector but will as well strengthen its national health care facilities.

The Programme Management officer who also doubles as the Sierra Leone Coordinator at the IAEA Division for Africa, Sulafa Faroug Fadl Karar, made this disclosure in a separate meeting between the Agency and Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, Ambassador Jongopie S. Stevens during the week-long IAEA 57th session of the General Conference held in the Austrian capital last week.

Ms. Karar highlighted the programmes set aside to promote Sierra Leone on nuclear safety and radiation protection. Among them she said, are Radiation Medicine and Health, Water Resource Management and Food Security.

The radiotherapy center which is part of the Radiation Medicine and Health project will be constructed in 2014. The work will commence shortly after an impact assessment team from the IAEA and the World Health Organization (WHO) completes their evaluation on national cancer control capacity and needs in the country.

She disclosed that the Agency will further provide expert services through training of local health practitioners to enhance their skills and knowledge relating to cancer treatments and radiation safety in the country.

It is reported that Sierra Leone has one of the most prehistoric cancer services across Sub-Saharan Africa. But the establishment of the radiotherapy center will ease the multiple health problems faced across the country, and provide modern equipments for the screening and treatment of cancer patients.

While thanking the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Energy for their fullest cooperation, Ms. Karar called for the continuous support of local authorities in Sierra Leone to the existing regulatory authority, by ensuring effective and efficient independence in the discharge of their regulatory functions.

On the area of Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection, Ms. Karar said Sierra Leone has made significant progress in the enactment and approval of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act in 2011-2012 respectively. It is against this backdrop that she said Regulatory activities which are carried out by Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (NSRPA) are committed to identifying problems faced by individual countries especially Sierra Leone, and provide technical advice where necessary.

Responding, Ambassador Stevens thanked the Agency for their support in trying to combat cancer and other health related problems in the country.

He acknowledged the apparent increase of cancer epidemic in the country and further expressed hope that with the support of the IAEA through its technical cooperation programme, the country will overcome the challenges faced in combating the dreadful disease.

Ambassador Stevens assured the Agency of government’s close cooperation in ensuring the successful implementation of the project within the stipulated timeframe.

Through the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme, the Agency is providing support to 125 countries in developing their capacities to use nuclear technology for development needs.

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