The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched a partnership with GE Healthcare to train professionals in medical imaging under Rays of Hope, the IAEA’s initiative to tackle the global inequity in access to life-saving cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is the first such agreement with a private company under Rays of Hope.

Under a one-year partnership with GE Healthcare, radiologists and nuclear medicine professionals from Africa and Latin America will receive in-person and online training in diagnostic techniques to help them detect cancer and other diseases. Such training will increase the capacity of low to middle income countries to conduct diagnosis. Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. But over one third of all cancers can be prevented, and some of the most common ones are curable if detected early and treated appropriately.

“A well-trained workforce is a must for a functioning medical sector. Our work together with GE Healthcare will provide these professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to help save lives,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said during the partnership’s launch on 14 July at IAEA headquarters in Vienna. “As part of the IAEA’s determined efforts under Rays of Hope to address global imbalances in access to cancer care, we are reaching out to potential partners also in the private sector, which has an indispensable role to play. Our partnership with GE Healthcare is a milestone in this respect and it will be followed by others.”

The IAEA’s traditional source of funding is its Member States. Under Rays of Hope, the IAEA is also tapping into other funding sources to ensure maximum reach, impact and sustainability of the initiative. By working with GE Healthcare, medical professionals from Member States will gain expertise in the latest cancer diagnosis trends.

GE Healthcare is a provider of medical imaging and digital technologies, pharmaceutical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems and healthcare consulting services.

“The IAEA plays a critical role to increase patient access to nuclear medicine and education for healthcare professionals around the world. GE Healthcare is proud to support IAEA in this mission to help enable earlier diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer, and earlier treatment, which will advance patient care,” said Peter J. Arduini, President and CEO, GE Healthcare.

As a part of the partnership, cutting-edge training will be provided at Zurich University Hospital in Switzerland, the GE Healthcare’s partner institution with expertise in positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. The first medical professionals from Kenya will begin their four weeks’ training in September. The training will focus on PET–CT and PET–MRI, imaging techniques that provide more accurate diagnosis of diseases including cancer and can also help find out where and whether the cancer has spread. Such techniques combine computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a PET scan, which also shows how well organs and tissues are functioning.

The launch of this partnership is a result of the IAEA’s efforts to build a collation of donors in support of Rays of Hope. Earlier this year, six countries pledged more than €9 million including France, Japan, Monaco, the Republic of Korea, Sweden and the United States. “I’m very encouraged by the generous support we have received from our Member States and from the private sector. Much more will be needed in the coming months and years to deliver on our pledge to reduce the global gap in access to cancer care, but this is a very promising start,” concluded Director General Grossi.

Source: International Atomic Energy Agency

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