Mr Yukiya Amano, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has expressed his satisfaction at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission’s (GAEC) numerous achievements in the peaceful application of nuclear science for national development.
Mr Amano, who is on a working visit to the country, said he was impressed by Ghana’s performance so far in her application of nuclear science in solving major health, agricultural and educational challenges.
He cited the establishment of a Medical Technology Park for research and development and training for early detection and treatment of communicable and non-communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer as an amazing stride that the IAEA would gladly support and invest in.
This, he said, was due to the fact that these diseases are on the increase globally and account for millions of preventable deaths each year.
Mr Amano said the perception by many that cancer was a disease for developed world was now a myth, as the ailment was the cause of about 2000 deaths annually in developing countries, most of which were often detected too late due to the lack of appropriate or limited health facilities.
The IAEA, he said, has been a key collaborator of GAEC which has gone through major expansions in human resource capacity which include the establishment of the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, University of Ghana, Atomic Campus.
Mr Amano commended GAEC for applying nuclear science and technology at its GAMMA Irradiation Facility to improve agriculture by way of extending the shelf-life of perishable commodities such as tubers, grains, vegetables and fruits, and also in the sterilization of medical products like infusion sets and surgical instruments.
Ghana, he said, was an important partner of the IAEA and has over the years played major roles in its activities such as a Governorship appointment to the Board, and he was confident that the country would maintain the gains made so far through its peaceful application nuclear science and technology and improve upon existing ones.
Mr Amano was welcomed to the Commission at a durbar on Friday, to commemorate his visit.
He was also entertained with various cultural performances by the GAEC Basic School and harmonious rendition of music by the resident choir of the Commission.
Mr Amano was later accompanied by Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Benjamin J.B Nyarko, Director-General of GAEC, Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, and other dignitaries, to Commission the new Pelletron Accelerator, which was named after the former Director-General of the Commission, Prof. Emeritus Edward Akaho.
Prof. Nyarko said the new facility which was the second of its kind in West Africa would enhance research and training in areas including environmental, plant medicine and food contamination, archaeology and geological samples, as well as forensics.