IAEA Director General Discusses Role of Nuclear Technology in Burkina Faso’s Development

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. (D. Calma/IAEA)

The IAEA has supported Burkina Faso in several development areas, including food and agriculture, nutrition and cancer control, said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in Ouagadougou on 20 March. Mr Amano highlighted the role of the IAEA Laboratories in providing technical training and support to scientists from Burkina Faso.

During his two-day visit to the country, Mr Amano met President Roch Marc Kaboré and National Assembly Vice President Bénéwendé Sankara, who expressed their appreciation for cooperation with the IAEA.

Food and nutrition

Burkina Faso has collaborated with the IAEA in the use of nuclear techniques to improve the yield and quality of rice, and IAEA experts are also working with scientists in Burkina Faso to improve animal breeding methods for dairy farmers. The country’s Institute of Research in Health Sciences has received IAEA support to help it evaluate human nutrition programmes using stable isotope techniques. One of these programmes helps ensure that mothers and young children receive proper nutrition.

Mr Amano spoke of the impact of Africa’s first IAEA collaborating centre, the International Centre for Research and Development on Livestock in the Subhumid Zone (CIRDES), particularly in training experts to use a nuclear technology, the sterile insect technique, to control insect pests.

“As you see, these are all very practical projects which make a real difference to the lives of many people,” Mr Amano said.

Ebola

Scientists from Burkina Faso participated in IAEA training courses last year on the detection and diagnosis of diseases such as Ebola and avian flu that can spread from animals to humans.

“The Agency takes pride in being able to react quickly to emergencies,” Mr Amano said.

Cancer control

Mr Amano highlighted the IAEA’s role in supporting Burkina Faso and other countries in Africa in their efforts to combat cancer. The IAEA has invested nearly 300 million euros in cancer and radiotherapy projects throughout the world – more than a quarter of it in Africa.

In 2010, an IAEA imPACT review mission in Burkina Faso studied the cancer services in the country and advised on the development of a comprehensive national cancer plan. The IAEA helped Burkina Faso establish its first nuclear medicine centre and continues to work closely with the country to expand radiotherapy services.

“Our mission is to transfer technologies to help save lives,” Mr Amano said. The IAEA provides training for medical and technical personnel, while helping make equipment available, he added.

Burkina Faso was the third stop on Mr Amano’s two-week visit to Africa. He also visited Nigeria and Ghana, and is due to travel to Côte d’Ivoire.

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Last update: 22 March 2016