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Regional Training Course in Mauritius Helps African Countries Strengthen Radiotherapy Safety

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Participants of the African Regional Training on Prevention of Accidents and Errors in Radiotherapy. (Photo: Ministry of Health and Quality of Life)

Radiotherapy professionals from 13 hospitals in 10 African countries recently developed plans, with IAEA support, to improve safety in their facilities.

The 25 professionals developed the plans during a regional training course held 16-20 April 2018 in Port Louis, Mauritius. The course was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life of Mauritius, and Health Minister Mohammad Anwar Husnoo emphasised that recognizing and learning from errors was the basis for improving safety. 

“In order to prevent accidents, it is important to learn from accidents that have occurred previously and to ensure that preventive actions are implemented in a clinical setting,” he said.

The participants learned about tools that can help improve radiotherapy safety and quality and incorporated these in their safety plans.   

 

Health Minister Mohammed Anwar Husnoo addresses participants. (Photo: Ministry of Health and Quality of Life)

Though radiotherapy generally is a safe medical procedure that benefits cancer patients around the world, significant errors with a negative impact on the patient and the radiotherapy facility can occur. 

The number and severity of safety incidents indicate a radiation oncology facility’s safety and quality performance. Robust safety systems tailored to each facility aim to reduce such risks. 

Radiotherapy experts from Australia and the United States taught the course, which included the use of adapted analytical methods often used in engineering. Such methods help determine root causes and avoid the repetition of mistakes. 

Participants also practiced using IAEA safety tools such as the Safety in Radiation Oncology reporting and learning system and the Quality Assurance Team for Radiation Oncology methodology.  

The training was financed through the IAEA technical cooperation programme.

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