Sierra Leone: Radiotherapy Facility Formation at Advanced Stage
The Head of Regulatory Control, Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (NSRPA), Abdulai A. Kargbo has informed media at his Liverpool Street office in Freetown on May 14th, 2019 that the establishments of the first Radiotherapy facility for diagnosis and treatment of Cancer is at advanced stage.
He said the process of establishing the Radiotherapy facility will be done in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations (UN) body charged with the responsibility for the promotion of peaceful applications of nuclear technology.
He explained that NSRPA which came into existent since 2006 has the mandate to control, regulate and supervise the acquisition, importation and exportation of radiation sources and radiation generating equipment adding that they also issue licenses to users and operators of radiation sources and radiation generating equipment. “No person shall import or cause to be imported, export or cause to be exported, administer or cause to be administered, use, deal in radiation sources or radiation generating equipment”, without a valid license issued by the Authority, he said, and emphasized that they also possess the power to amend or revoke license especially when one fails to meet the set out criteria or requirement. He discussed that NSRPA started in 2006 after the promulgation of the protection from radiation 2001 Act. “This act gave the mandate for the establishment of the radiation protection board secretariat”, he told his audience. Mr. Kargbo disclosed that they had the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission in 2008 that looked into the Protection from Radiation Act 2001 on how it can be aligned with the basic safety standards (BSS) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He said one important thing that came out clearly during the IAEA team visitation to Sierra Leone was the power given to an inspector of the authority to enter any premise or facility during normal working hours, a process he said, was lacking in the 2001 Act but he continued, it has now been incorporated to the NSRP Act 2012 Act, after repealing the Protection from Radiation Act 2001.
He emphasized on the important of entering a radiation facility by inspectors without hindrance at any time in any facility with any equipment for the implementation of the act adding that they usually made either announced or unannounced inspection visit wherein he said, they normally pose administrative questions to administrative officers and do quality control checks on the machines to ensure the right dose is delivered to a patient.
He said license for importation could only be given after an importer has completed a notification form adding that if the information in the form is satisfactory, the authority can then issue an authorization form. After completing the authorization form correctly, Mr. Kargbo said, a license can then be issued.
The radiation expert maintained that when a radiation source or generator is brought into the country, they normally perform a pre-authorization inspection.
He said they needed tremendous support to do all the hefty job and described the unavailability of utility vehicle as one of their biggest challenges and mentioned that personal radiation detector can be used to detect the amount of radiation presence. He said they normally conduct trainings for radiation users or occupational workers to do the right thing. He said NSRPA gives license for different practices.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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