IAEA Director General Visits Tanzania
Director General Yukiya Amano and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda (background) being briefed following the inauguration of new cancer diagnosis and treatment facilities at Tanzania's Ocean Road Cancer Institute. (Photo: C. Brady/IAEA)
Director General Yukiya Amano visited the United Republic of Tanzania from 10 to 12 February 2013. While there he met Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, and discussed the IAEA's ongoing cooperation with Tanzania, particularly in the areas of cancer control and treatment, food safety and security, and pest control.
The focus of the visit was Mr. Amano's inauguration, along with Prime Minister Pinda, of the new Spect Gamma Camera and Simulator facilities at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI). This equipment was provided by the IAEA in cooperation with the Tanzanian Government, and will greatly contribute to OCRI's cancer diagnosis and treatment capabilities. Simulators are used to help medical professionals plan the most effective radiation therapy for each cancer and patient. Spect Gamma Cameras are used during diagnosis and follow-up for cancer patients.
Tanzania has more than 21 000 new cancer cases every year, and OCRI is the only specialized facility for cancer treatment in Tanzania. The Agency has been cooperating with the institute since 2006 as one of eight Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) Model Demonstration Sites around the world. The Director General had an opportunity to tour the institute, meeting with staff and patients, and to see the important work of OCRI at first hand.
The Director General also visited the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA). The Agency has assisted the TFDA by training personnel and procuring equipment in a cost-sharing project with the Tanzanian Government, enhancing TFDA capabilities in the analysis of metallic contaminants, pesticide residues and toxins. This has important benefits for food safety, both for food sold within Tanzania and for exports.
During his two-day visit, the Director General also met with the Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Makame Mbarawa; the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe; the Minister for Energy and Mineral Resources, Sospeter Muhongo; the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Rashid; as well as senior officials from a range of other ministries. He was also able to hear from the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries of Zanzibar, Abdillah Hassan Jihad, regarding the impact of the successful tsetse fly eradication project conducted there with the support of the IAEA.
The IAEA has also supported the training of 28 oncologists, physicists, technologists and oncology nurses. Tanzania also participates in the IAEA/PACT Project to establish a Virtual University for Cancer Control (VUCCnet) in sub-Saharan Africa.
PACT partner organizations like the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Cancer Institute in the US, and the Union for International Cancer Control have also trained or contributed to the training of hundreds of doctors and nurses in the country. Tanzanians received this training through PACT partnership agreements or as a result of PACT funding.
-- By Conleth Brady and Sasha Henriques, IAEA
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