If that headline strikes you as surprising, you are not alone.  I, for one, thought that the IAEA had enough on its plate acting as the world’s nuclear watchdog, but, it turns out, they also run a “Department of Technical Cooperation,” which fosters “the role of nuclear science and technology in sustainable development.” How cool?

Just a taste of some recent projects:

  • As mentioned in the headline, at the request of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in Haiti, IAEA is providing mobile X-ray units along with the supplies and power necessary to keep them operational.  Roughly 250,000 in Haiti need urgent care, and, currently, the radiographic capability on the ground is severely limited.
  • The IAEA is also helping to meet radiographic needs in El Salvador, specifically to fight cervical cancer, which, if treated correctly, can be reliably cured.  Central America has some of the highest cancer rates in the world, and El Salvador alone sees 1,200 new cases of cervical cancer a year.  With the help of IAEA, the government of El Salvador has access to a safe and sustained supply of Iridium, necessary for treatment, as well as improved training for those who use it.
  • And, perhaps most far afield, the IAEA is involved in 25 projects in the Central African Republic, ranging from animal insemination (yes, really) and animal vaccination to radioisotopic techniques used to evaluate malaria drugs to developing new varieties of cassava, a vital staple crop in central Africa. 

All the more reason the IAEA should never suffer from underfunding.

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