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IAEA Supports Introduction of Radiotherapy in Benin

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IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visiting young researchers at the University of Abomey-Calavi in Cotonou, Benin. (Photo: T. Ichikawa/IAEA)

The IAEA is actively supporting the efforts of the government of Benin to establish the country’s first radiotherapy centre, Director General Yukiya Amano told Beninese officials during his visit to Cotonou and Porto Novo from 23 to 25 August.

In meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs Aurélien Agbénonci, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Marie-Odile Attanasso and National Assembly President Adrien Houngbédji, Mr Amano discussed the role of nuclear science and technology in sustainable development and explained the IAEA’s work in assisting its Member States in areas of food, water, the environment and health, including the fight against cancer and epidemic diseases such as Ebola and Zika.

Mr Amano also visited University of Abomey-Calavi, where he met young researchers who received training through the Agency’s technical cooperation programme.

Benin is one of 28 countries in Africa that are currently unable to offer radiotherapy treatment to their cancer patients, but it is now making steady progress towards building its first radiation medicine facility. The IAEA, working with partners such as the World Health Organization, helps countries devise comprehensive cancer control programmes and establish nuclear medicine and radiation oncology facilities.

In 2013, the IAEA sent a team of leading international health experts to Benin to assess the level of care for cancer patients and make recommendations for improvement. It has also provided Benin with technical and legal advice, and more than 100 scientists from Benin have received training at the IAEA laboratories or in laboratories in Member States supported by the IAEA.

“Training of experts and nuclear safety are essential in cancer therapy. The IAEA can assist Member States like Benin in these areas in a concrete manner,” Mr Amano said.

The IAEA has supported Benin, an IAEA Member State since 1999, in other areas, including radiation safety, crop production and animal and water resources. It has worked with local experts on assessing soil erosion and the efficiency of soil conservation strategies.  IAEA experts have also supported researchers in Benin in the development of small-scale irrigation technologies for high-value food crops, which will lead to increased incomes for farmers.

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