By James Onono Ojok
Atomic Energy Council on Friday the 20th May 2022 trained over 300 radiation and safety officers including management of health facilities in both private and public health units in the greater northern region from Acholi Inn hotel about meeting radiation safety measures and promotion of the culture of automatic compliance with the regulation of licensing of facilities using radiation machines or equipment for safety of both the patients and the workers in the various health facilities across the region.
Luwalira Deogratias Noah the Chief Executive Officer of Atomic Energy Council said once the equipment are not monitored to verify state of the machines as to safety in the health facilities is very dangerous for the members of the public since exposures to high radiation can cause complications like cancer since it kills the cells rapidly and can cause immediate death.
“Those who don’t have license we advise you to apply so that our technical team verify the authencity of your machines for assurance that the public is safe from over dosage of radiation and that is our work as a regulatory body”. Said Luwalira.
Mugoya Mulembe the Gulu district deputy Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) said one of the challenges the local government have for the health units is the issues of budget crisis to recruit those many specialists in that field.
“Actually in the all of health centers in the district you find that there is only one staff who handles radiology, this is not good because people can develop challenges hence there should be an alternative and there is need to have a budget review towards having more of these specialists recruited but also many health workers should have basics to be alerting patients on the precaution measures of radiation equipment”. Mugoya told the press from the side-way of the meeting.
Debo Ronald the Radiation Safety Officer of Arua Regional Referral Hospital said the country also have very few bio-medical engineers or qualified experts to test performance of X-Ray Machine and to support routine maintenance of the equipment that waiting for them in a region can take over six months.
“Government of Uganda should invest in bio-medical engineers who would be based at regional level so that efficiency is realized in routine checking of these machines so that we protect everybody in this country.
Atomic Energy Council Since 2011 has issued 1,363 licenses and 383 permits with inspection of over 1,433 facilities.
The Council was established in 2008 by the Atomic Energy Act with fuctions that include development of regulations and guides, authorization and inspection of facilities with radiation sources including monitoring of occupancy exposed workers and assistance in response to radiological emergencies among others.