Radiological Health Program

Cancer is the second cause of death in the Region, and its incidence is expected to increase considerably in the developing countries.  It has been noted internationally that Radiation therapy will continue to be key in cancer treatment in the next decades. Its curative function is particularly important in several pathologies such as cervical and uterine cancers, head and neck, and breast or prostate, without forgetting its palliative function and cost effectiveness in all the pathologies.

The effectiveness and safety of the treatments depend on many factors including the correct diagnosis and stage, the adequate therapeutic decision, the precise localization of the tumor, or planning and delivery of the treatment. This motivates the need for implementing comprehensive quality assurance programs in order to improve the effectiveness of the treatments and radiation safety for the patients.


Las ventajas y los riesgos del uso de radiaciones, tanto en aplicaciones médicas, industriales o de investigación, son bien conocidos. El elevado riesgo potencial para la salud que implica su uso, hace necesario adoptar medidas especiales para la protección radiológica de pacientes, trabajadores, público y medio ambiente.

Seis organizaciones intergubernamentales con competencia en la materia, entre ellos la OPS, consensuaron las Normas Básicas Internacionales de Seguridad para la Protección contra la Radiación Ionizante y para la Seguridad de las Fuentes de Radiación (NBIS), endosadas por la XXIV Conferencia Sanitaria Panamericana (resolución CSP24.R9) que establecen, entre otros requisitos técnicos, la necesidad de contar con autoridades reguladoras nacionales. Estamos ahora en la etapa de revisión de las NBIS cuya nueva edición esperamos complemente las normas establecidas.

De entre todas a las exposiciones de la población a la radiación artificial, la exposición médica es de largo el mayor contribuyente, y continúa una tendencia ascendente en todo el mundo. La repercusión que este incremento de la dosis de radiación en la población tendrá en el futuro es muy difícil de predecir. Como consecuencia, es necesario adoptar medidas especiales de protección radiológica del paciente para evaluar y controlar las dosis de radiación que las fuentes médicas proporcionan.

Varios accidentes radiológicos y sobre-exposiciones de pacientes han ocurrido en la Región, algunos de ellos con víctimas mortales. Esta eventualidad, junto con la actual coyuntura internacional de posibles actos terroristas usando material radiactivo, exige mejorar la preparación y respuesta a emergencias radiológicas en la Región.

La OMS tiene en marcha un proyecto internacional sobre los riesgos para la salud de los campos electromagnéticos. En la Región existe una preocupación creciente de la población acerca de estos riesgos, mientras que las normativas y conocimientos técnicos en esta esfera son aún muy heterogéneos de unos países a otros.
 


Provisions of technical cooperation and advise to member states on all aspects of radiological health:

x-rayThe Radiological Health Program has provided technically sound, timely cooperation and advice to all official requests from Member states on the assessment, incorporation, regulation, management, radiation protection from both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and utilization of appropriate health technologies in medical imaging and radiotherapy services.
In addition, the radiological health program has provided and facilitated educational activities or programs, convened meetings and advocated for the role of radiology in public health. Below are some of the many activities achieved on 2015:

Ongoing Activities:

  • More than 150 radiotherapy photon beams have been checked in Latin American and the Caribbean through the IAEA/WHO (PAHO) TLD postal dose quality program.
  • Assessed the Radiation Safety conditions of a new Radiotherapy Service in Antigua & Barbuda
  • Advised to the National Regulatory Authorities of Colombia and Brazil
  • Advise on the incorporation of radiotherapy technology in Bolivia

Educational Activities

  • WEBINAR LECTURES SERIES are offered on a continual basis allowing participants to have access to continuing education all year round. Continuing Education is crucial to keeping radiology heath workers well versed and preserving excellence in the services they render to the public. The in-country course offered before or after the webinar lectures increases the effectiveness of the training as a whole and allow the instructors to identify specific areas of improvement. Thus providing lectures tailored to areas of concern for long lasting improvements.
    In 2015, Webinar Lecture Series were offered on Breast Imaging, Pediatric Imaging, Computed Tomography, and Abdominal Sonography. Around 100 participants attended the English lectures while more than 3,000 attended the Spanish sessions.
  • ONLINE COURSE on Clinical Instructor Academy course in collaboration with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT). The purpose was to allow technologists/radiographers in the Caribbean to gain the expertise, insights and confidence needed to transition efficiently and successfully into the role of a clinical instructor.
  • BELIZE CITY, BELIZE held a four- day Breast Imaging Course to radiographers, radiologists, physicians and pathologists from 11 to 14 May, 2015.
  • PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO hosted a two-day course on High Risk Obstetric Sonography on 31 October and 1 November 2015. The 48 attendees included radiologists, radiology residents, sonographers, physicians and radiographers. The purpose of the course was to supplement the high risk OB webinars and OB workshop held in 2014. Also, this workshop was to provide up-to-date information on the evaluation of high risk pregnancy.
  • MANAGUA, NICARAGUA- Fourteen technologists from the 5 public hospitals currently operating digital systems participated in the workshop on digital radiology for technicians/technologists. The objectives were to update these professionals on the specific characteristics of digital technologies, the procedures to improve quality, as well as the radiation protection of patients and workers. This activity was in collaboration the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT)
  • KINGSTON, JAMAICA- Obstetric Sonography two-day course was held in Kingston, Jamaica on November 7 and 8, 2015. The 25 attendees included radiologists, sonographers, physicians and radiographers. The purpose of the in-country course was to provide continuing education, improve the delivery and advocate for the role of sonography in maternal and neonatal health
  • GEORGETOWN, GUYANA- Obstetric Sonography two-day course was held in Georgetown, Guyana on December 12 and 13, 2015. The 26 attendees included OBGYN physicians and residents. The purpose was to improve ultrasound scanning and allow the participants to identify pregnancy and fetal abnormalities on sonographic imaging and correlate with clinical findings. This activity was in collaboration with The International Foundation for Sonography Education and Research (IFSER) and 7DImaging

International Meetings

  • Regional Expert Consultation on the Monitoring of the Implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) post-2016, Brasilia
  • Regional Meeting of Health Authorities to Analyze the Implementation of the BSS, Santiago de Chile
  • X Regional Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association, Buenos Aires.
  • XXIV World Congress on Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering, Toronto
  • World Radiology Day on the role of radiology in Maternal and Neonatal Health.
  • Regional Consultant Meetings on Standards for Mammography Services were held in WDC.
  • The 25th Inter-Agency Committee on Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies (IACRNE) in Vienna
  • The 18th Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety (IACRS) in Luxembourg
  • The 39th Radiation Safety Standards Committee (RASSC).
  • International Conference on Global Emergency Preparedness and Response held in Vienna
  • The following Standards have been elaborated and cosponsored by PAHO: Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency , the Joint Radiation Emergency Management Plan of the International Organizations edition 2016, and Radiation Protection and Safety in Medical Uses of Ionizing Radiation

Diagnostic Imaging in the Community. A manual for Cliics and Small Hospital (pre-publication-draft copy)

Palmer, Philip E.S., Hanson, Gerald P., and Janice Honeyman-Buck, Editor. Diagnostic Imaging in the Community A Manual for Clinics and Small Hospitals.

Pre-Publication Draft Copy Electronic pre-publishing rights granted to Rotary District 6440 and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) by the authors Copyright ©2011, Philip E.S. Palmer and Gerald P. Hanson.

Download   pdf here  (1.1 MB)