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IAEA Director General Highlights IAEA Support for Development During Myanmar Visit

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IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar. (Photo: Ministry of Education of Myanmar)

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano highlighted the important role of nuclear science and technology in supporting sustainable development in his discussions with State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, during his visit to Myanmar last week.

The State Counsellor expressed her interest in improving irrigation for better management of water and fertilizer use, attracting investment for export of agricultural products and improving national capacity for cancer care. Mr Amano confirmed that the IAEA would further strengthen cooperation with Myanmar. He welcomed the progress being made to establish a new nuclear safety law and underlined the importance of having a robust safety infrastructure, and encouraged an early entry into force of the Additional Protocol to Myanmar’s Safeguards Agreement, which was signed in 2013.

Mr Amano also called on Union Minister for Education Myo Thein Gyi, to discuss the current status of technical cooperation projects for Myanmar. Mr Amano visited the University of Yangon and exchanged views on ways to strengthen capacity of the university for higher education on nuclear physics.

Mr Amano’s programme also included visits to facilities where nuclear techniques are used to improve cancer care, to increase cattle breeding and to identify diseases such as the foot and mouth virus that impacts livestock in the country.

During his visit to the Yangon General Hospital, Mr Amano was briefed on progress made in the treatment of cancer using radiotherapy. The continued IAEA assistance to train medical physicists and radiologists in radiation medicine was also highlighted in discussions. This included participation in IAEA supported scientific visits to well-known institutions in the region that have an expertise in this field of medicine. An IAEA  imPACT Review Mission in 2015 provided the country with specific guidance to improve cancer care.

Mr Amano assured senior hospital officials of the IAEA’s continued support in enhancing cancer care, including training in quality assurance for radiation medicine, and capacity building to improve the skills and knowledge of health workers in radiation medicine.

Nuclear science has also had an impact in Myanmar in the area of animal breeding. Mr Amano’s programme included a visit to the Livestocks Breeding and Veterinary Department in Yangon and a dairy farm.

At the farm, veterinarians said dairy farmers have shown a keen interest in having more information on the benefits of artificial insemination using isotopic techniques to breed dairy cows producing more milk and healthier calves.

Other topics discussed included the assistance provided by the IAEA, the FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to Myanmar’s veterinary laboratory to buy material and acquire expertise in using nuclear and nuclear derived techniques immunological and molecular technologies to ascertain viruses such as the foot and mouth disease, a high contagious viral disease of cattle and swine.

While in Myanmar, Mr Amano also met with senior officials of Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

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