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IAEA Director General Visits Zambia: Highlights the Role of Nuclear Technology for Development

Medical staff at the Cancer Diseases Hospital, the only cancer treatment hospital that offers radiation therapy in Zambia. (Photo: Petr Pavlicek / IAEA)

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited Lusaka, Zambia and held in-depth discussions with President Edgar Lungu and several ministers on the IAEA’s work in the country. These include support in radiation protection, cancer control, nuclear research and work towards a nuclear power programme.

During his meeting with Minister of Higher Education Minister Nkandu Luo, who is responsible for the country's nuclear programme, Mr Amano was briefed on the progress achieved in strengthening the nuclear regulatory mechanism and the revised legal framework that strengthens the national regulator.

“Effective nuclear legislation and an independent, robust regulatory authority should form the foundation of any nuclear programme,” Mr Amano said.

At the Cancer Diseases Hospital

Mr Amano visited the Cancer Diseases Hospital, where senior doctors informed him about the advanced radiation, chemotherapy services and palliative care offered to cancer patients from within Zambia and surrounding countries. His tour included visits to the children's ward and the women's ward, and he was briefed about plans to expand the hospital. 

Established in 2007, the Cancer Diseases Hospital is the only cancer treatment centre offering radiation therapy in Zambia. Over 17 000 cancer cases have been diagnosed and treated at this hospital. The IAEA played a vital role in supporting the establishment of the hospital by providing training to medical professionals, including in the radiation protection of health care workers and patients. “I am very impressed by the dedication of the staff and the results that have been achieved with the support of the IAEA,” Mr Amano said. “Many of the doctors we have trained are now training medical staff from across the country and beyond.”

Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology

Mr Amano received an update on the progress made by Zambia to develop a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology. The goal of the centre is to have a 20MW research reactor, analytical and research laboratories, industrial irradiators using a Cobalt-60 source and a linear accelerator.

Besides President Edgar Lungu and Minister of Higher Education Nkandu Luo, he also met Foreign Minister Joel Malanji, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya and Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska.

Mr Amano was in Zambia from 20 to 23 January. It was the second leg of his three-country tour in Africa. He visited Uganda last week, and his next stop is Botswana.

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