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Strengthening radiation protection programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Minister of Health of Nicaragua, Ms. Sonia Castro, and the IAEA’s Director General, Mr. Yukiya Amano, at the opening ceremony of the workshop in Managua.

The Minister of Health of Nicaragua, Ms. Sonia Castro, and the IAEA’s Director General, Mr. Yukiya Amano, have attended the opening ceremony of a workshop in Managua to assess occupational radiation protection in the region, and to strengthen radiation safety programmes.

The workshop, held in Managua, Nicaragua from 1 to 5 February, brought together 44 four professionals, representing 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Participants focused on assessing the situation in the region regarding occupational radiation protection and on establishing regional and national action plans to strengthen their radiation safety programmes.

The meeting took place with the framework of an ongoing, regional IAEA technical cooperation project entitled ‘Strengthening National Infrastructure for End-Users to comply with Regulations and Radiological Protection Requirements’. This project, which was initiated in 2014, aims to strengthen radiation protection programmes in medicine and industry for both workers and patients. The project is also intended to support the development of appropriately educated and well-trained staff to enhance national capacities in radiation protection. The project has also resulted in the formation of an informal network that has developed during this and preceding meetings, through which the participating Member States have been able to receive and in turn provide support to each other.

Discussions at the meeting confirmed that all the project’s planned activities and objectives for 2014 and 2015 had been successfully carried out and met. Looking to the future, the meeting participants developed both regional and national workplans for the period 2016- 2017. The Latin American and the Caribbean region is pioneering the promotion of safety culture in radiation safety activities and facilities, as well as in the implementation of quality management systems for technical services.

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