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Portugal to Train Health Professionals in Radiation-Related Fields

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IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano met with the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo: Office of the President of Portugal)

Portugal will train health professionals from developing countries in radiation-related fields based on an agreement signed with the IAEA in Lisbon last week. According to the Memorandum of Understanding, the IAEA will also support the establishment of a proton therapy centre and assist in the decommissioning of the country’s only nuclear research reactor.

The agreement was signed during the two-day visit to the country of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. Portugal will host up to 50 fellows and scientific visitors at the Instituto Superior Técnico and the Portuguese Institute of Oncology. In addition, 20 students from countries in which Portuguese is the official language will receive a 50% reduction in tuition fees for Masters degrees in physics, medical physics and radiological protection.

Mr Amano highlighted the excellent cooperation and active support of Portugal for the IAEA when he met President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. “Portugal’s contribution to the IAEA regional technical cooperation programme is commendable,” Mr Amano said.

In his meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva, the fight against cancer, investment in human health and support for technical cooperation among developing countries were important priorities highlighted. They also discussed cooperation between Portugal and the IAEA, including the establishment of a high-energy cyclotron facility for proton therapy for medical and research applications.

Mr Amano also visited the Fundação Champalimaud, an advanced research institute, and its cancer research and neurosciences laboratories.

IAEA supports capacity building to enhance health care

Mr Amano delivered a keynote address at the international symposium on New Horizons for Nuclear Sciences and Technologies in Portugal: Health and Cancer Applications at the Instituto Superior Técnico. He highlighted how the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme has “improved the health and prosperity of millions of people and delivered huge benefits to entire communities.”

He said that health, including nuclear medicine, radiotherapy, dosimetry and nutrition were priority areas for the IAEA’s 169 Member States.

Mr Amano noted the close collaboration with Portugal on fighting animal diseases such as avian influenza and African swine fever, on controlling obesity in adolescents and children, on molecular imaging and on food irradiation. He drew attention to the IAEA’s support to the institute’s work on electron beam and X-ray applications.

He talked about the assistance provided to Ghana in diagnostic equipment for child cancer, the installation of the first radiotherapy centre to Lesotho, and the assistance provided to 15 Asian countries to use 3D image-guided brachytherapy and the training to more than 100 radiation oncologists and medical physicists in this important technique.

He spoke about the Memorandum of Understanding with Portugal, noting that the generous support provided by Portugal is “exactly the type of assistance which will deliver real long-term benefits to the recipient countries, helping them to build up their expertise in the relevant fields so that they will be able to train their own specialists to a high standard in the future.”

During his visit Mr Amano also met Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor as well as Minister of Health Adalberto Campos Fernandes.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Augusto Santos Silva in Lisbon, 26 April 2018. (Photo: N. Luzio/IAEA)

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