The Zambian government is taking significant strides towards creating a conducive and well-regulated radiation sector environment to harness the global applications of radiation in various fields such as medicine, industry, mining, agriculture, and research.
This initiative is underscored by the establishment of the Radiation Protection Authority, according to Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati.
Speaking at the launch of the Radiation Protection Authority’s 2023–2026 strategic plan, Minister Mutati, represented by his Permanent Secretary, Dr. Brilliant Habeenzu, emphasized the pivotal role of the radiation sector in advancing technology, sciences, and overall economic development.
The Authority, functioning as a statutory body, plays a crucial role in regulating the environment, ensuring the safety of workers across sectors dealing with radiation materials.
The strategic plan focuses on various key areas, including the safety of patients undergoing diagnosis or treatment in healthcare facilities that employ radiation sources. This encompasses radiotherapy for cancer treatment, nuclear medicine, and radiology x-ray services.
Additionally, the Authority is committed to safeguarding the public from unnecessary radiation exposure originating from natural sources such as mineral ore concentrate, water, food, and fertilizer. The plan also extends its protection to individuals accompanying patients for healthcare involving radiation.
The Minister highlighted that the strategic plan aligns with the government’s vision for economic development, recognizing the indispensable role of the radiation sector in driving progress. The Radiation Protection Authority is actively engaging stakeholders locally and globally to enhance radiation activities nationwide.
In a bid to bolster regulation and oversight, the Authority has developed a National Radiation Mapping Strategy, aiming to assess the radiation background in Zambia comprehensively. This strategic approach will contribute to a more informed and regulated use of nuclear science technology.
As the government continues to prioritize the effective and regulated use of radiation, the launch of the Radiation Protection Authority’s strategic plan marks a significant step towards fostering a secure and controlled radiation environment for the nation’s development.