Zambia on the way toward progress in nuclear science and technologies

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ambia’s first and only cancer treatment hospital – at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) – that offers radiation therapy opened ten years ago in Lusaka. The IAEA, through its Technical Cooperation Programme, has supported the hospital since planning began in 2002. Radiation medicine is a vital component of cancer control. Photo Credit: Petr Pavlicek / IAEA Louise Potterton / IAEA

The times when nuclear technologies were affordable only for superpowers have gone long ago. Today more and more developing countries around the globe are opting to develop nuclear technologies to make them an integral part of national development and economic empowerment.
African countries are not an exception and have made significant steps in nuclear science development under the guidance of the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) and its key member states.
IAEA organises a rolling programme of training and courses for African professionals from across the continent to gain knowledge and skills in the nuclear field. Recently the IAEA held a workshop in Sudan on nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness for more than 300 participants from around the continent.
The results from East African countries are already substantial. With the help of international training and assistance Tanzanian doctors are now able to deliver more precise radiation cancer treatment with no harm to healthy tissue through 3D scanning.
“We now have the skills to more fully understand the extent of a tumour and ultimately plan better and more precise treatment for our patients,” said Dr Mark Mseti, a radiation oncologist at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam, which receives technical support and equipment through the IAEA. Previously, Dr Mseti participated in IAEA training on 3D planning for target volume definition and contouring for radiotherapy.
The IAEA supports its member states, which include Zambia, to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases like cancer. To this end the IAEA offers training, coordinates research, provides equipment and technical expertise and hosts scientific fellows, among other services.
The organisation is not alone in these efforts to strengthen the nuclear infrastructure of developing countries. The IAEA and Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom have reached an agreement aimed at bolstering IAEA assistance to member states that are considering introducing nuclear power or expanding an existing programme.
In Zambia the international assistance led to drastic improvements in the medical sector. The country will expand its cancer treatment facilities and the officials are planning to launch an ambitious project to expand medical services in the country given the successful operation of Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) in Lusaka, which has treated 16,000 people in the last decade.
“Without the assistance of the IAEA, it would have been very difficult for us to set up a highly technical centre like this one and care for so many patients,” said Dr Lewis Banda, the CDH’s Senior Medical Superintendent.
The development of nuclear science made it possible for Zambia to make gains in improving the living standards of people. In this context Zambian government decided to embark on the path of establishing up its own nuclear science and technology programme in collaboration with Russia and Rosatom. The parties have already signed several agreements to start construction of the Zambian Centre for Nuclear Science and Technologies, which will be equipped with laboratories and functional systems for scientific research as well as a multi-purpose research reactor.
The centre will make it possible to conduct research in the radiobiology sphere and establish production of radioisotopes in Zambia for wide application in cancer diagnostics and treatment. It will also provide staff training for the local nuclear industry.
For her part IAEA cancer expert Kristen Hopkins was optimistic about Zambia’s drive towards nuclear development, mentioning that Zambia had an excellent team and a clear vision to develop the nuclear medicine sphere in coming years.
This shows that African countries are well on the way of nuclear development, which will bring long-term social and economic benefits as well as sustainable energy.

Zambia’s first and only cancer treatment hospital that offers radiation therapy opened ten years ago in Lusaka.

12 COMMENTS

    • You have said one which is nothing to be proud of really .Next time you write such articles make sure that we do have such machines in Ndola , Kitwe ,Solwezi , Chipata, Kasama,Mansa and Mongu .Your guess is just as good as mine because Lungu is using Tax payers money to go and see a traditional ceremony in Swaziland instead of buying such machines for regional centres and freeing the work load at UTH .

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  1. This is news, where are our Colleagues from UPND? this is what we should be encouraging and supporting. 16,000 Zambians and counting are helped or treated. Yes! this should be more interesting to us Zambians than supporting political parties some of which will never form a Govt, even if they do only God knows if they would make any difference at all.

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    • We are here,its a good thing but they have to work on the staff too.its one thing to have all this investment and investing in the staffing levels.Very Important no politics here.

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  2. Kelvin this is the same reactor that the government said wpuld generate power to alleviate the power shortage . It was published on this site some 5 to 6 weems ago…… this is the problem with the MMD/pf regime….tbey make big announcements that arent true then back track to the truth. The big headlines are unadultered proproganda .

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    • That is right, lungu and the PF rats on LT are confusing nuclear power generation , which is beyond Zambia, with applying and using nuclear isotopes in medicine…..they don’t know the difference…

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  3. Headline says zambia on tne way to make progress in nuclear nedicine….. when you start at the bottom tben you can only mske orogress.

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  4. Please TREAT the CANCER IN UPND of not accepting ECL as duly elected president of zambia, how i wish HH to be put under that machine then ifikanso fyonse ni OUT, cant we have such a machine ayi

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    • You , are married they way you lust on HH ??

      I don’t think so….find a husband and maybe this obsession with HH will reduce ka….this is how dangerous obsessed stalkers are made…

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