PAHO and the International Atomic Energy Agency Sign an Agreement to Enhance their Collaboration

8 Oct 2012

Washington, D.C., (PAHO/WHO) and Vienna, Austria (IAEA), 8 October 2012 — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have signed an agreement to work together to ensure quality and safety in radiation medicine; improve preparedness for radiological emergencies; share information; and undertake other joint activities in PAHO/WHO member countries, among other subjects.

The Practical Agreement outlining the terms of collaboration has been concluded between Kwaku Aning, Head of IAEA's Department of Technical Cooperation, and Mirta Roses Periago, Director, PAHO.

Nuclear technology is used in a wide range of medical applications: radiotherapy, X-rays and nuclear cardiology are some of the best known. IAEA and PAHO/WHO have collaborated for more than four decades in radiation safety and related areas of interest to PAHO/WHO Member States.

Under the new agreement, the agencies will work together to provide assistance to countries in training and capacity building, including the development of joint educational and training courses; participation in expert missions to assess country requests for support; strengthened research efforts; and the exchange and dissemination of information, including through joint publications.

PAHO and IAEA also have critical and complementary networks in their Member States that can facilitate joint actions in areas of common interest to achieve the promotion of health and prosperity in the Region of the Americas.

"The Practical Arrangement will allow us to further enhance our relationship with the IAEA and develop additional benefits from the strengthened collaboration", said Ms. Periago.

"The human health sector comprises one of the largest areas of the IAEA's technical cooperation activities. The IAEA's technical cooperation programme assists Member States to develop capacities and capabilities in the safe use and management of nuclear and radiation technology used in medicine", said Kwaku Aning. "Though our programme, and now through the partnership with PAHO, we seek to improve occupational safety culture in fields dealing with radiation."

General areas of cooperation under the agreement include

  • Quality assurance in radiation medicine (radiotherapy, diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine)
  • Medical physics
  • Radiological safety, security and emergencies
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Nutrition, including reducing the burden of stunting and childhood obesity
  • Environmental health
  • Health personnel development
  • Health information and knowledge management, including production of joint publications.

The agreement is for a period of four years and may be extended by mutual agreement.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the world's center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The IAEA works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a member of the United Nations system. It is also the specialized agency for health within the inter-American system. PAHO has been working for 110 years with its Member States to improve the health and quality of life of the peoples of the Americas.