The 6th African Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (AFRIRPA) is underway in Accra.
The 4-day programme is being organised on the theme “Embracing radiation protection and safety culture.”
The conference is being attended by over 150 participants including radiation experts, researchers, scientists, academia, policy makers and civil society organisations from Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroun, Angola, Sudan, Burkina Faso, and Cote d’ Ivoire.
It also has representatives from Germany, Hungary and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It is being organised by the Ghana Association for Radiation Protection (GARP) in collaboration with the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) IAEA, and World Health Organisation (WHO), The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
Topics to be discussed include, radiation protection education and safety culture, training of skilled professionals and optimisation of doses to workers, public and patients sensitisation strategies, oral and poster presentations in different areas of radiation protection as well as special sessions on non-Ionizing radiation, and natural occurring radioactive material (NORM).
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, commended the organisers for unionising radiation protection and assured of government’s commitment to further deepen cooperation, ensuring that technologies were developed for the socio-economic transformation that would protect the environment and lives from the harmful effects of these cutting-edge technologies.
He said since the IRPA promoted the worldwide enhancement of professional competence radiation protection culture they must be supported to provide the benchmarks of good practice by encouraging the application of the highest standards of professional conduct, skills and knowledge for the benefit of individuals and society.
The minister charged the conference to help strengthen their position as a member of IRPA towards making public health a priority not only in Ghana, but other parts of the world.
Dr Peter Johnson on behalf of the IAEA said the applications of radiation offered enormous benefits in many areas of our lives including medicine, industry education and science, as such every care must be taken to ensure that the use of radioactive materials posed no undue hazard to the public or the environment.
He indicated that radiation safety was primarily the responsibility of individual states because radiation accidents could be harmful to human health, the environment and could also undermine public confidence in applications of radiation for peaceful purposes.
“The IPRA has performed well so it is of paramount importance that the leading global experts consistently meet to share insights and best practices to address new and emerging challenges especially new uses of ironising radiation in different applications of our endeavours which has evolved over the years from initial focus on safety at nuclear power plants to safety at all types of facilities in which radiation and radioactive sources are used,” he added
The Director General of GAEC, Professor Samuel Boakye Dampare, said ionising radiation was considered as high priority towards adopting a good safety culture, in order to maintain health and for organisations to maintain safe operations based on international basic safety standards and norms.
The WHO Country Office Representative, Dr Francis C. Kasolo, commended the organisers for developing such a comprehensive and relevant programme and urged the global community to research more into diseases that had become burdensome on most populations.