Healthcare innovation

MoU on safe nuclear, radiation tech signed

MoU on safe nuclear, radiation tech signed

The Herald

Sifelani Tsiko Agric, & Innovations Editor

The Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) and the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe (RPAZ) have signed a memorandum of understanding that aims to develop capacity for the development of safe nuclear and radiation technology in the country.

The agreement sets out the framework for cooperation between RPAZ and RCZ in areas of common interest to jointly conduct, coordinate and publish selected research efforts on nuclear development and innovation and radiation safety in the country.

The two said that the co-operation was essential for the effective and efficient performance of both research and safety functions and ultimately promotion of research and development in Zimbabwe.

The MoU was signed by chief executive officer of RPAZ, Mr Justice Chipuru and acting executive director of RCZ Dr Timothy Marango.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, RPAZ chairperson Dr Anna Mary Nyakabau said nuclear and radiation technology had the potential to contribute to several sectors of economic development in the country.

“Nuclear technology has proven to be beneficial for clean energy generation, diagnosis and treatment in healthcare, the championing of pest management and forming of new agriculture technologies like nutrigation,” she said.

“We hope that this MoU will contribute towards efforts to establish nuclear and radiation technology solutions for the country.”

Zimbabwe’s sustainable development goals, she said, could be achieved through the exploration in nuclear research.

“Progress in nuclear innovation will occur step by step and with each victory the nation will abate its challenges and will progress towards the attainment of an upper middle income economy by 2030,” Dr Nyakabau said. Speaking at the same event, RCZ chairperson Prof Zororo Muranda, said Zimbabwe needed to harness new technologies remain competitive.

“For our nation to be competitive in the global economic landscape we need to invest in research and innovation,” he said. “I, therefore, call upon all stakeholders here present to put all effort into the perpetuation of this strategic MoU.”

Zimbabwe and most other African countries have identified the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology as an important vehicle for driving development in the healthcare and agriculture sectors as well as the attainment of the continent’s Agenda 2063.

Small-scale farmers in the Niayes area of Senegal were now using nuclear technology in eradicating the threat of the tsetse fly, while new nuclear technology irrigation systems are saving water in Ghana through the move from sprinkler to drip irrigation. Nigeria is experiencing increased cucumber yield due to nuclear based fertigation technology.

South Africa has managed to develop healthcare profiles for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging for its healthcare sector.

“Our nation, like these, calls for long term, sustainable, clean solutions in agriculture, health and energy which nuclear research has the ability to provide,” said Prof Muranda.

There is a growing realisation that Africa should harness peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, including nuclear-derived uses and applications such as radiotherapy and the use of radioactive isotopes for diagnosis in healthcare, non-destructive testing and industrial uses, water resources monitoring, real-time polymerase chain reaction uses and to track microplastics in the environment, among other issues.