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Technical cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean
Improving programmes to reduce childhood malnutrition in Latin America Obesity is a major health problem in Latin America due to changes in diet and patterns of physical activity Obesity is caused by overnutrition, and is a form of malnutrition RLA/6/052: Evaluation of Intervention Programmes for the Reduction of Childhood Malnutrition (ARCAL LXXXIV)
Improving programmes for the reduction of childhood malnutrition in Latin America The project… Supported the development of intervention programmes related to overweight or obese children. Evaluated their impact using isotopic techniques.
Improving programmes for the reduction of childhood malnutrition in Latin America The impact… Policy makers now have tools to support the diagnosis and evaluation of obesity and its causal factors Supports the evaluation of intervention programmes in Chile and Cuba. Assistance to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Uruguay to develop and implement pilot intervention programmes. Standard operating procedures for validation methods using isotopic techniques have been developed
Screening for congenital abnormalities in newborns, Uruguay The challenge… In Uruguay, the second principal cause of death in children under one year of age is congenital abnormality. Failure to diagnose and treat some congenital diseases such as neonatal hypothyroidism or cystic fibrosis can cause irreversible, lifelong damage. Newborn screening programmes for these conditions are essential. URU/6/022: Early Diagnosis of Congenital Diseases in Children; URU/6/023: Screening Neonates for Cystic Fibrosis using RIA; URU/6024: Screening and Diagnosis for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Screening for congenital abnormalities in newborns, Uruguay The project… The programme for neonatal hypothyroidism at the Nuclear Medicine Centre at the University of the Republic, Montevideo started in 1990 and has been continued in another three projects. The screening programme covers all newborns and two diagnostic centres in the northern and eastern part of the country have been supplied with equipment and training.
Screening for congenital abnormalities in newborns, Uruguay The impact… All newborns in Uruguay now receive screening for hypothyroidism through the cord blood screening programme. Babies that have been detected as positive are usually able to receive treatment within a few days, or within 3 -4 weeks at the latest, that will virtually eliminate mental retardation resulting from congenital hypothyroidism. Screening has been expanded to cover other life threatening conditions (Phenilketonuria and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia).
Improving cancer care in the Dominican Republic The challenge… The medical centres of the Dominican Republic had no medical physics services nor regular calibration programmes for their cancer therapy machines. Treatment was limited to the use of earlier generation cobalt machines and the dosimetry applied for treatment did not take account of individual patients’ characteristics. For applications in brachytherapy, sources of radium-226 were still used. DOM/6/002: Establishment of Brachytherapy Services, DOM/6/003: Improved Quality of Radiotherapy Services, DOM/6/004: National Nuclear Medicine Service
Improving cancer care in the Dominican Republic The project… Provided basic equipment to the Instituto de Oncologia Dr. Heriberto Pieter for quality assurance in dosimetry for the cobalt machines, and a computerized system for treatment planning and clinical dosimetry. Medical personnel were trained. A service for low dose brachytherapy was established, which used caesium-137 instead of radium-226. The first nuclear medicine centre of its kind in the Dominican Republic was established in the Oncological Institute of the Cibao Region.
Improving cancer care in the Dominican Republic The impact… 3300 implants performed on patients with gynaecological cancer since 1997. Care provided for 700 cervical cancer patients per year. Medical physics and nuclear medicine services available. Availability of trained cancer therapy technicians. Updated cobalt-60 teletherapy machines. Regular quality controls on the basis of protocols. Computerized or manual treatment planning for every patient. Clinical dosimetry in brachytherapy, tailored to each patient. Radiological protection services at regular intervals.
Enhancing nuclear medicine in Havana, Cuba The challenge… Every year, some 5000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Cuba. This project aimed to enhance nuclear medicine services and medical therapy procedures, focusing on improving the quality of life of patients.
Enhancing nuclear medicine in Havana, Cuba The project… Working with the Centre for Clinical Research in Havana, Cuba, the IAEA provided expert services, fellowships and scientific visits on beta source dosimetry. It also conducted a national workshop on beta dosimetry and the use of radiopharmaceuticals.
Enhancing nuclear medicine in Havana, Cuba The impact… The number of clinical studies performed per year increased dramatically (between 2000 and 2006, the number of patients treated doubled). Quality control improved and the radiological safety of patients and workers was strengthened (the equivalent dose to personnel was reduced by 33%). The training provided to specialists from other institutions increased significantly. Several important donations of specialized equipment were made to the Cuban Centre for Clinical Research, including a dose calibrator and a gamma camera, donated by Sweden.
Sterilizing human tissue in Uruguay had no capacity to radio-sterilize tissue grafts Radio-sterilization of tissue reduces the preprocessing bacterial load and is also a terminal sterilization process URU/7/005: Sterilizing Human Tissue Using Ionizing Radiation
Sterilizing human tissue in Uruguay The project… aimed to supply sterilized, highquality tissue grafts with increased clinical and microbiological reliability aimed to provide human resources qualified in tissue graft radiation sterilization within Uruguay in order to increase safe human homografts.
Sterilizing human tissue in Uruguay The impact… Uruguay now has access to safe and properly treated tissue grafts to heal different skin and musculoskeletal pathologies More patients can be treated. The production of radio-sterilized grafts has increased. Tissue banking activities have now been included in the National Programme for Continual Medical Education and Professional Awareness in Uruguay.
Preserving cultural heritage artefacts in Latin America The challenge… The classification, preservation and restoration of historical objects require scientific, technical and historical knowledge Nuclear analytical techniques can be used to identify the chemical composition of historical artefacts This is used for profile establishment and helps fight counterfeiting and illegal trafficking of cultural goods RLA/8/043 Use of Nuclear Analysis Techniques and Development of Databases for Characterization and Preservation of National Cultural Heritage Objects (ARCAL XCIV)
Preserving cultural heritage artefacts in Latin America The project… • Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru were helped with the study and preservation of their national cultural heritage, through the provision of analytical information for the characterization and contextualization of cultural heritage artefacts. Training… • was provided on the use of nuclear analytical techniques • a database was developed for curators, researchers, archaeologists and other analysts, to support and promote the use of nuclear analytical techniques.
Preserving cultural heritage artefacts in Latin America The impact… A database of descriptive and analytical data on samples of archaeological and other cultural property has been developed. Several laboratories in the region have successfully employed nuclear techniques to study archaeological ceramics and samples of obsidian (volcanic rock) and bones. The nuclear techniques have been promoted through publications, outreach seminars and talks aimed at representatives of institutes related to the study of cultural heritage.
Improving the common bean in Costa Rica The challenge… The common bean is the main source of protein, iron and fibre in the diet of the Costa Ricans. It is grown on small and medium sized farms in Costa Rica and other parts of Central America and the Caribbean. It is affected by web blight, which is controlled by spraying fungicides. Fungicide effectiveness is severely limited by the heavy rainfall, and has a negative environmental impact. COS/5/025: Development of Induced Mutations and Biotechnology for Improved Productivity and Competitiveness
Improving the common bean in Costa Rica The project… Used irradiation to develop web blight resistant common bean mutants. Other relevant biotechnologies such as in vitro techniques and molecular genetics were also applied. The resulting mutants are superior to other varieties in terms of plant architecture, flowering period, disease and pest resistance, flavour and other quality traits. The resistant bean varieties and the molecular markers linked to this trait were disseminated to the national bean improvement programmes.
Improving the common bean in Costa Rica The impact… Strengthened national technical capabilities in the field of plant breeding and genetics in Costa Rica. Improved bean strains successfully cultivated in vitro and reproduced. Control of bean web blight disease (mustia hilachosa) in Costa Rica improved. Increased interest in the coordinated use of biotechnology and nuclear energy.
Strengthening the national environmental monitoring system in the marine ecosystem in Guatemala The challenge… Population and industry is growing around Puerto Quetzal and other areas on the south coast of Guatemala. Puerto Quetzal is the most important industrial harbour on the Central American Pacific coast. Despite its leading position and modern operation, the port had no environmental monitoring programme. GUA/7/002: Strengthening the National Environmental Monitoring System in the Marine Ecosystem
Strengthening the national environmental monitoring system in the marine ecosystem in Guatemala The project… Helped to determine the levels of contamination of ecotoxic metals in the marine environment. Complemented the National Directorate of Energy’s evaluation of radioactive contaminants. Supported capacity building and acquisition of new expertise that allowed Puerto Quetzal to establish an environmental department capable of reconstructing past pollution and monitoring future incidences occurring in the harbour’s area of influence.
Strengthening the national environmental monitoring system in the marine ecosystem in Guatemala The impact… The project has led to better coastal marine management. National expertise in environmental quality assessment and pollution monitoring strategies has improved. An environmental monitoring system can now be implemented at Puerto Quetzal, a pre-requisite for ISO 14001 certification. Multilateral collaboration between Empresa Portuaria Quetzal and other national institutions (Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy and Mines and Universities) has been enhanced.
Conserving the environment in the mining sector of Peru The challenge… Mining activities in Peru have resulted in a high level of environmental contamination. The level of environmental contamination has led to a deterioration in farming activities. The main rivers in Peru are affected by high levels of cyanide and metals, including copper, lead, zinc, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and mercury – all from mining activities. PER/2/015: Radiotracer Technology Applied to Conservation of the Environment in the Mining and mineral Sector
Conserving the environment in the mining sector of Peru The project… Carried out by the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Agency (IPEN), with Agency support. Used isotopic tracer techniques to determine contamination levels in order to establish clean operating practices in the mining and minerals industries. Established the technical tools needed to characterize environmental pollution caused by mining activities, in order to adhere to the national policy for the management of naturally occurring radioactive materials. The Agency provided fellowships, a scientific visit and equipment to analyze non-radioactive and radioactive materials in environmental samples.
Conserving the environment in the mining sector of Peru The impact… Improved analytical capability. Levels of arsenic and other pollutants in sediments of the Rimac and Aruri rivers in the mining zone around Lima were evaluated. Two studies on the hydrodynamics of underground waters of two mines in Puno and Lima and the characterization of effluent filtration from two mines in Arequipa and Cajamarca were completed. On the basis of the findings, the Peruvian Institute of Nuclear Agency (IPEN) drew up an environmental conservation plan.
Controlling fascioliasis in Latin America The challenge… Fascioliasis is a parasitic disease that affects animals and humans. It is estimated to affect some 17 million people around the world. It is highly prevalent in Latin America, and is expanding steadily. Epidemiological studies are urgently needed in order to support the development of appropriate control strategies. RLA/5/049: Integrated Control of Fascioliasis in Latin America (in support of National Programme)
Controlling fascioliasis in Latin America The project… Serological and coprological diagnostic techniques were standardized in order to reach a consensus on protocols. Epidemiological surveys were carried out in each country, using harmonized multitests in selected zones. Nuclear techniques were used to genetically characterize Fasciola and the different snails that act as intermediate hosts for the parasite. A bibliographic review gathered all available data on affected livestock species and breeds, the prevalence of the disease, endemic areas and recorded human cases.
Controlling fascioliasis in Latin America The impact… Strategies for control can be designed according to the epidemiological characteristics of the disease in each country. These can then be applied by other countries of the region with similar fascioliasis characteristics. The project directly benefits the inhabitants of endemic areas in the form of improved public health as a result of control strategies (particularly in Bolivia and Peru). Indirect benefits include increased profitability and sustainability of cattle, sheep and goat populations in countries where such livestock forms the backbone of the economy.
Sustainable development of the Upper Lempa River water basin The challenge… To ensure the sustainability of water resources in the Upper Lempa River Basin, which drains from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, in an area called the Trifinio region. RLA 8038: Sustainable Development of the Environment and Water Resources in the Upper Lempa River Basin
Sustainable development of the Upper Lempa River water basin: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras The project… Used isotope hydrology to identify the movement of water from precipitation to the Lempa River through volcanic and alluvial aquifers Supported the establishment of a plan for an integrated watershed management programme in the Trifinio region.
Sustainable development of the Upper Lempa River water basin: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras The impact… Transboundary hydrographical, geological and hydrogeological information was harmonized A transboundary observation network to monitor the chemical and isotopic composition of precipitation, groundwater and surface water was established.
Improving milk and beef production in Honduras The challenge… This project focused on improving the nutrition and health conditions of cattle in Honduras, concentrating on the needs of small and medium-scale Honduran stock-breeders. Feed supplementation strategies for cattle that drew on locally available plant resources were needed. HON/5/002: Improving the nutritional and sanitary conditions of cattle through nuclear methods
Improving milk and beef production in Honduras The project… Used nuclear and related techniques to obtain new data on the nutritional quality of locally available feed resources, in particular forage crops.
Improving milk and beef production in Honduras The impact… Low-cost feeding strategies have been developed, using locally available resources. This will enhance the efficiency and productivity of milk and beef production, and will bring greater returns for farmers. Honduran agriculture experts are using nuclear techniques to monitor the reproductive efficiency of cows and to improve the effectiveness of artificial insemination.
Promoting Pest-free Produce for Export in Guatemala The challenge… Fruit producers in Guatemala suffer significant economic losses due to fruit fly damage. Fruit flies can cause severe damage to fruit and vegetables such as papaya, mango, orange, pear, apricot, peach, apple, guava, pepper and tomatoes. The presence of fruit flies restricts interregional trade and agricultural exports. GUA/5/016: Establishment of Fruit Fly Free or Low Prevalence Areas using the Sterile Insect Technique
Promoting Pest-free Produce for Export in Guatemala The project… Aimed to help Guatemala reduce fruit fly damage through the use of the sterile insect technique. This technique is a type of ‘birth control’ for insects: radiation-sterilized male flies are released into the wild to compete with fertile male flies, resulting in reduced reproduction.
Promoting Pest-free Produce for Export in Guatemala The impact… Guatemala has become the most important Central American exporter of fresh tomatoes, peppers and papaya to its nearest major international market, the USA. Export of tomatoes and peppers now generates over two million dollars per year. Papaya exports have doubled annual produce exports now amount to over four million dollars. Hundreds of jobs in production, packing and transportation have been generated, primarily for women.
Assessing energy options and strategies in Mexico The challenge… Demand for electricity in Mexico has increased by about 6% per year for the past 20 years. Energy demand has also been rising by an average of 3% per year. Current plans in the electricity sector base nearly 92% of new capacity on natural gas generation technologies. Mexico needed to analyse the consequences of a fossil-based expansion, and to review possible alternative development paths. MEX/0/012: Comparative Assessment of Energy Options and Strategies until 2025
Assessing energy options and strategies in Mexico The project… Provided training in energy planning models, collected analysed data. Studies were carried out by a national team of specialists from the Mexican institutions involved in energy and electricity planning for the country.
Assessing energy options and strategies in Mexico The impact… Electricity expansion planning, energy sector planning, and environmental impact studies were concluded. The Government of Mexico is using the project results to establish national policy.
Completing the Atucha II Nuclear Power Plant in Argentina The challenge… Atucha I in Argentina, opened in 1974, is Latin America’s first nuclear power plant (NPP). Atucha II NPP was initiated in 1981 but was delayed due to financial problems when only 81% complete. In 2005 the Government of Argentina decided to resume activities to complete the new NPP. Atucha II NPP will produce some 5% of the total production of electricity in Argentina, the equivalent of more than 3 million cubic metres of natural gas per day. ARG/4/090: Completing the Atucha II Nuclear Power Plant
Completing the Atucha II Nuclear Power Plant in Argentina The project… Aimed to provide advice and expertise in subjects relevant to the finalization of construction and preparation for commissioning, start-up and safe and reliable operation of the Atucha II NPP. Carried out over 25 expert missions including project management and document reviews and workshops on specific technologies.
Completing the Atucha II Nuclear Power Plant in Argentina The impact… Expertise has been provided to support the construction and commissioning of the Atucha II NPP, covering engineering, licensing and compliance, commissioning and, in particular, the management and performance of these activities. Capabilities and expertise have been strengthened and improved in accordance with international standards and guides.
Strengthening the safe management of radioactive waste in Latin America The challenge… In Latin America, radioactive material is used in industry, medicine, research and other areas, and radioactive waste is generated as a result This increases the public’s risk of exposure, and the possibility of radiological accidents. Naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) and technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) can also affect public health and safety. RLA/9/055: Strengthening the National Infrastructure and Regulatory Framework for the Safe Management of Radioactive Waste in Latin American Member States (TSA 4)
Strengthening the safe management of radioactive waste in Latin America The project… Aimed to strengthen national infrastructure and regulatory frameworks for the control of public exposure and safe management of radioactive waste in the Latin America region. Countries were helped build national policies on the management of radioactive waste, in line with international recommendations Training for the staff responsible for regulatory activities and for managers of radioactive waste was provided on topics related to public exposure control and safe management of radioactive waste, including waste safety requirements, environmental monitoring and national policy and strategy for radioactive waste management.
Strengthening the safe management of radioactive waste in Latin America The impact… National regulations for the control of public exposure are being established in accordance with the safety standards of the IAEA, covering all stages of radioactive waste management. Protection of the public has been strengthened at the regional level, and the risk of exposure, radiological accidents and malevolent acts with radioactive waste materials has been reduced.