The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the IAEA have signed an agreement to work more closely to ensure safety and quality assurance in areas of radiation medicine; and during radiological emergencies. Both agencies will also enhance information sharing; and undertake other joint activities in PAHO/WHO Member Countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Practical Agreement outlining the terms of collaboration has been concluded this month between Mr. Kwaku Aning, Head of the IAEA's Department of Technical Cooperation, and Ms. Mirta Roses Periago, Director, PAHO.
Under the new agreement, the two agencies will work together to assist countries in training and capacity building. This would include the development of joint educational and training courses; participation in expert missions to assess country requests for support; strengthened research efforts; and the exchange and dissemination of information, including joint publications.
Nuclear technology is used in a wide range of medical applications, for example in radiotherapy, X-rays and nuclear cardiology. For over 40 years, IAEA and PAHO/WHO have collaborated in radiation safety and related areas of interest to their respective Member States. Both Agencies also have complementary networks in their Member States that can facilitate joint actions in areas of common interest.
The human health sector comprises one of the largest areas of the IAEA's technical cooperation activities. The IAEA's Technical Cooperation programme assists Member States to develop capacities and capabilities in the safe use and management of nuclear and radiation technology used in medicine.
"Though our programme, and now through the partnership with PAHO, we seek to improve occupational safety culture in fields dealing with radiation," Kwaku Aning said.
"The Practical Arrangement will allow us to further enhance our relationship with the IAEA and develop additional benefits from the strengthened collaboration," Ms. Periago said.
General areas of cooperation covered under the agreement include the following:
- Quality assurance in radiation medicine (radiotherapy, diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine);
- Medical physics;
- Radiological safety, security and emergencies;
- Non-communicable diseases;
- Nutrition, including reducing the burden of stunting and childhood obesity;
- Environmental health;
- Health personnel development; and
- Health information and knowledge management, including production of joint publications.
The agreement is for a period of four years and may be extended by mutual agreement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the world's center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The IAEA works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a member of the United Nations system. It is also the specialized agency for health within the inter-American system. PAHO has been working for 110 years with its Member States to improve the health and quality of life of the peoples of the Americas.