Accra, Jan. 19, GNA - The Director-General of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr Mohammed ElBaradei would witness the inauguration of Radiotherapy Centre at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on Friday in Kumasi.
Dr ElBaradei arrives in the country on Thursday at the invitation of President John Agyekum Kufuor, who would inaugurate the Centre. While in the country, the Director General would visit the offices and site of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) at Kwabenya in Accra and hold a durbar with the staff.
Professor Edward Horga Kordzo Akaho, Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that the invitation had been extended two years earlier, but events in Iraq had not made it possible for the IAEA Director-General to come at that time.
He said the presence of the IAEA Director-General in the country, was significant considering the huge assistance Ghana received from the IAEA in areas of research and development in nuclear science toward national development.
He said the visit would reinforce the cooperation between IAEA and GAEC Prof. Akaho said for instance that the Agency had for the past 10 years supported the GAEC with more than 12 million dollars, five million dollars of which was used to establish the Radiotherapy Centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
A total of 4,389 patients from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, La C=F4te d'Ivoire, Benin and Burkina Faso have been managed at the Korle-Bu Radiotherapy Centre, while the Hospital's Nuclear Medicine Unit had so far diagnosed and monitored 1,800 patients. He said the Centre at Kumasi was significant because of the increase in life expectancy levels of Ghanaians that come along with diseases like cancer and the patronage from other countries in Sub-Region. Prof Akaho said the Radiation Protection Institute of the GAEC was monitoring 80 per cent of workers in Ghana exposed to radiation to protect them from over-exposure.
Also with the assistance of the GAEC, companies like the Aboadze Thermal Plant, Tema Oil Refinery, Unilever and Aluworks, have installed a kind of scanning system, called Non-Destructive Testing, to exactly detect the exact faulty spots in the plants.
Other achievements of the Commission are that it has analysed several food and iodated salt samples on the market; analysed soil samples and rocks for elemental profile for some mining companies. An Act of Parliament (Act 204), 1963 established the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission. Act 588 of 2000 replaced the initial statute to expand its mandate to include the promotion, development and utilisation and peaceful application of nuclear and biotechnological techniques for economic and social advancement of Ghana.
In pursuance of these objectives, the Commission currently has three institutes and five centres.
The institutes are the Nuclear Research Institute; Biotechnology and Nuclear Agriculture Research Institute and the Radiation Protection Institute.
The Centres are: National Centre for Mathematical Sciences; Radiation Technology Centre, Ghana Research Reactor Centre; National Radioactive Waste Management Centre and the Digital Electronics and Nuclear Instrumentation Centre.