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Latin American Countries Build Expertise in Advanced Medical Response to Radiation Emergencies with IAEA Support


Physicians from Latin America taking part in the Regional Training Course on Advanced Medical Response to Radiation Emergencies, in Montevideo, Uruguay in May 2019. (Photo: IAEA)

Latin American countries are now better prepared to manage the medical consequences from nuclear or radiological emergencies, thanks to a five-year IAEA-supported effort that strengthened the region’s readiness for a medical response to radiation emergencies.

An IAEA advanced regional training course for 19 physicians from 12 Latin American countries marked the conclusion of the project, which was supported by the IAEA technical cooperation programme. The course, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, focused on the medical management of acute radiation syndrome, local radiation injuries and internal radioactive contamination, as well as medical follow-up procedures. All participants had taken preparatory national IAEA training courses held as part of the project.  

Lecturers from Japan, France and the USA conducted the May 2019 training programme, developed in consultation with Argentine and Brazilian experts as part of a process to strengthen international cooperation and inter-regional capacity building. To further foster regional capacity building, the course participants formed a network to sustain their collaboration and offer a hub for sharing the experiences that help the network members increase their skills.

“We have developed the capacity to integrate our medical training into the national emergency preparedness and response plans for radiological and nuclear emergencies in our countries”, said Dr Alfredo Herrera González, a medical doctor from the Hospital Hermanos Ameijeiras in Cuba. “The multiyear training was a real ladder of knowledge to climb, but it enabled us to build more skills than we could have in a one-off training.”

The course was based on relevant IAEA Safety Standards and Emergency Preparedness and Response Series Publications, including  Medical Management of Persons Internally Contaminated with Radionuclides in a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency, which was published last year.

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