Dr Mary Boadu, Head of Radiological and Medical Science Research Institute of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), on Tuesday said the Commission has championed the application of nuclear science in healthcare delivery.
Speaking at a public lecture in Accra dubbed: “The impact of nuclear science in healthcare delivery in Ghana,” she said given the needed support and resources, GAEC would accelerate its efforts in the promotion and utilisation of nuclear science in healthcare
The lecture is the third in a series marking the golden jubilee celebration of the Commission on the theme: “50 years of GAEC achievements, challenges and progress.”
Dr Boadu noted that the impact of nuclear science and technology has so far not been appreciated even though it has been utilised over time to diagnose and treat diseases for which tremendous benefits have accrued for the healthcare sector.
She said in order for GAEC to deliver on its commitment to respond to emergent healthcare and system needs as spelt out in its mission and vision statements, it established the Radiological and Medical Science Research Institute in 2009, to offer diagnostic and therapeutic services through research and development activities.
She said seven research centres and laboratories exist within Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) and Radiological and Medical Science Research Institute, to support health facilities to improve patient safety and deliver high-quality, accessible and sustainable health-care system.
Dr Boadu observed that priority research areas include molecular diagnosis of infectious diseases based on nucleic acid amplification technologies, radiation and cancer biology, nutrition, medical physics, radiopharmacy, disease vector management using Sterile Insect Technique and radiation sterilisation of medical instruments and infusions and food.
She said the application of molecular isotopic is to control and manage the major poverty related communicable diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis and malaria.
She said other research areas are the evaluation of human papillomavirus infection and cervical lesions among women in a high risk population.
Dr Boadu said the RPI is the sole authority that provides permits for the import and export of any radiation producing device into the country.
She said the GAEC facilitated the establishment of the National Centre of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the Komfo Anokye Radiotherapy Directorate through collaborative effort between the Government and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
She observed that currently the Radiotherapy Department at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, attends to an average number of 60 cancer patients daily.
Dr Boadu said in Ghana there are about 60,000 new cases of cancer annually of which 35,000 patients would go through radiotherapy.
She urged patients to report any symptom of cancer to the hospital for early diagnosis and treatment.