Technical cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean
Improving programmes to reduce childhood malnutrition in Latin America RLA/6/052: Evaluation of Intervention Programmes for the Reduction of Childhood Malnutrition (ARCAL LXXXIV) Obesity is a major health problem in Latin America due to changes in diet and patterns of physical activity Obesity is caused by over- nutrition, and is a form of malnutrition
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 Improving programmes for the reduction of childhood malnutrition in Latin America
Screening for congenital abnormalities in newborns, Uruguay 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 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.
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).
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 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.
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. Improving cancer care in the Dominican Republic
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.
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. Enhancing nuclear medicine in Havana, Cuba
Sterilizing human tissue in Uruguay Uruguay had no capacity to radio-sterilize tissue grafts Radio-sterilization of tissue reduces the pre- processing bacterial load and is also a terminal sterilization process URU/7/005: Sterilizing Human Tissue Using Ionizing Radiation
The project aimed to supply sterilized, high- quality 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. Sterilizing human tissue in Uruguay
RLA/8/043 Use of Nuclear Analysis Techniques and Development of Databases for Characterization and Preservation of National Cultural Heritage Objects (ARCAL XCIV) 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 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. Preserving cultural heritage artefacts in Latin America
Improving the common bean in Costa Rica COS/5/025: Development of Induced Mutations and Biotechnology for Improved Productivity and Competitiveness 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.
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, dis