Nuclear Techniques Crucial to Cancer Management-GAEC

The Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has said nuclear techniques remain a crucial option in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

The Institute stated that nuclear techniques such as radiotherapy uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancerous cells and relieve pains of cancer patients.

This was made known by a medical physicist at RAMSRI, Dr. Francis Hasford, at a webinar organised by GAEC in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) on the theme: The Use of Nuclear Imaging Techniques in Cancer Management.

According to Dr. Hasford, nuclear imaging machines are used to take pictures of the organs of patients to identify the cancerous spot. “The patient is then referred to therapy where they are placed under a device that emits high energy radiation for treatment” he added.

Dr. Hasford indicated that the Global Cancer Statistics (GLOBOCAN) of the World Health Organisation revealed that over 15,000 Ghanaians died of cancer in 2020.  “Breast cancer accounted for almost 18% of all cancer cases reported in Ghana, followed by liver cancer (14%), cervical cancer (11%), and prostate cancer (9%), ” he added.

He used the occasion to encourage the public to go for regular health checkups for early detection of cancers to save lives.

The Director General of GAEC, Prof. Samuel Dampare in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Dickson Adomako, said that existing data shows that cancer kills more people than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria combined.

He stated that GAEC showed its commitment to the fight against cancer by facilitating the establishment of the National Centre of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the Oncology Directorate of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

“These health facilities were a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health of the Government of Ghana and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” he added.

Prof. Adomako was glad that cancer patients in Ghana and the sub-region have benefited greatly from these two facilities.

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Artificial Intelligence model to identify crop diseases in the offing – GAEC

The Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) is developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to identify the types of crop diseases and their causal agents.

According to the Manager of Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics Center of GSSTI, Dr. Theophilus Ansah-Narh, the AI model would help the farmers identify the particular crop disease and apply a tailored approach to yield treatment, significantly increasing disease control effectiveness.

The Manager explained that “farmers will only have to snap images of their crops’ leaves and upload them to the app for the AI model to determine the type of disease affecting the crop”.

Dr. Ansah-Narh disclosed this at a webinar dubbed: “MESTI Webinar Visibility Series,” organized by GAEC in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), focusing on space science technology in Accra.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, in his remarks commended Dr. Ansah-Narh and GSSTI for the major strides made in Artificial Intelligence research. He also lauded the Institute for using big data techniques to collect and analyze data to better understand space and its components.

“Processes are far advanced for Ghana to develop a space policy that will provide a platform for the country to harness the full potential of space science and technology. I can announce that the policy is at the subcommittee level, and every indication is pointing to its eventual approval” he disclosed.

In a speech delivered on behalf of the Director-General of GAEC, Prof. Samuel B. Dampare, the Director of GSSTI, Prof. Shiloh Osae stated that through the work of GSSTI, Ghana has become the second African country, besides South Africa to successfully transform its telecommunication antenna into a radio telescope for data collection and training purposes.

According to Prof. Osae, GAEC agreed to host the technical activities of Ghana’s space program in 2011 since the Commission had the skill set required for such a high-level technical program.

“As a fallout of this accomplishment, the GSSTI is now collaborating with the University of Leeds to train astronomers from Ghana and other African countries” he added.

The webinar was held under the theme “Big Data in Space Science Technology” to promote GSSTI’s application of space science and technology to Ghana’s development.

By CPRC/CCD

Test drinking water for radiological safety – GAEC

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) has urged owners of boreholes and producers of sachet and bottled water to test for radiological water quality.

The Commission said this would ensure the safety of drinking water, thereby preventing the long-term incidence of cancers in people who ingest contaminated water.

Dr. David Kpeglo (right) and Dr. Gibrilla Abass (middle) in a studio discussion on an Accra based TV station to commemorate World Water Day.

Research Scientists of the GAEC, Dr. David Kpeglo and Dr. Gibrilla Abass, made this call during a discussion on an Accra-based TV station to commemorate World Water Day on the global theme: “Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible”.

Speaking on protecting groundwater, making it safe and sufficient with conventional and nuclear techniques, Dr. Abass explained that the groundwater is held in rocks beneath the earth’s surface, containing naturally occurring radioactive materials that can easily find their way into the water.

“That is why apart from the normal test for the physical and chemical parameters of the water, we encourage people to also test for radiological parameters,” he added.

Dr. Abass indicated that although the groundwater is generally safe, human activities on the earth’s surface have the potential to interfere with its safety and increase the level of contaminants that are not safe for human consumption.

On his part, Dr. Kpeglo counselled that “it is advisable that after drilling a borehole, individuals must take the necessary steps to ensure that the water quality is tested before drinking it.”

He stated that the water quality analysis must include radiological, physical, chemical and bacteriological tests. “These tests are mandatory for all sachet and bottled water producers,” Dr. Kpeglo emphasized.

“The specific requirements under the radiological water quality test are Gross Alpha and Gross Beta with the screening values of 0.1Bq/L and 1.0Bq/L, respectively. This is well enshrined in the regulations of Ghana Standards Authority and the World Health Organization (WHO),” he said.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Abass admonished the public to always seek the services of an expert before drilling a borehole saying, “because selecting the right site is very important and a prerequisite at the initial stage to determine water quality and quantity.

“The professional will give you an idea of the water quality and quantity so that some mitigation measures can be put in place, when necessary. For instance, it is a requirement that a borehole must be sited away from a manhole with a permissible minimum distance of 50 meters,” he said. “It is even illegal to drill a borehole without a permit,” he cautioned.

Dr. Abass also said it is advisable to deal with a licensed borehole driller as they assist the Water Resource Commission (WRC) with data on the boreholes in the effective management of groundwater resources in the country.

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GAEC LADIES CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2022

The Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) Ladies Association has held a get-together for GAEC women to mark this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations.

The theme for this year’s celebration “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow under the hashtag #BreakTheBias” implores individuals to work towards a world that is more equal, inclusive, and free of prejudice and discrimination in order to level the playing field for women in society.

GAEC Ladies sharing a meal at the get-together

In a brief interview, the Association’s President, Dr. Eunice Agyarko-Mintah, stated that the gathering was organized to foster unity, increase communication and promote collaboration.

“We decided to host this get-together to get to know each other better, interact, and share a meal in order to foster a sense of community”, she stated.

According to Dr. Agyarko-Mintah, the theme for this year’s celebration is particularly relevant because although women are taking up leadership positions and working at par with men, biases against women still exist.

“When I was studying for my PhD in soil science, for example, someone approached me and questioned why I didn’t pursue a female-oriented field such as food science”, she indicated.

She urged young women in science and research to take on the challenge of breaking the bias by pursuing programmes in male-dominated fields such as physics and chemistry.

Dr. Agyarko-Mintah encouraged the GAEC Ladies to always strive for excellence through hard work, discipline, diligence, and integrity.

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GAEC LADIES ASSOCIATION GETS NEW EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

A seven-member executive committee of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) Ladies Association has taken over the baton of leadership to steer the affairs of the association for the next three years.

They are Dr. Eunice Agyarko-Mintah, President; Ms. Justina Owu-Agyiri, Vice President; Mrs. Evelyn Duah, Secretary; Mrs. Doris Worlanyo Taylor, Treasurer; Ms. Leticia Esi Boadu, Financial Secretary; Ms. Matilda Obese-Badu, Protocol Officer and Mrs. Belinda D. Brocke, Vice Protocol Officer.

The newly elected GAEC Ladies Executive Committee Members.

At a brief ceremony on February 17, 2022, at the GAEC Auditorium in Accra, the President of the association, Dr. Agyarko-Mintah, thanked members of the association for the confidence they had reposed in her and the other executive members.

She commended the past executives for their good works and assured members to take the works of their predecessors a notch higher. The President also promised to work together with all stakeholders towards the realization of the association’s aspirations.

Dr Agyarko-Mintah also extolled the past executives for contributing to the effort of the Commission to fight COVID-19 by donating hand sanitizers and tissue towels when the pandemic was at its peak.

The President noted, “I cannot and will not assume that this mission can be accomplished on my own accord and knowledge. Therefore, I appeal for the cooperation of all members to help promote the Association’s image to a better stead.

Immediate past GAEC Ladies Executive Committee Members.

The immediate past executives were Prof Mary Boadu, President; Mrs. Sika Nartey, Vice President; Dr. Hannah Affum, Secretary; Mrs. Yvette Agyiriba Aggrey, Treasurer; Ms. Leticia Boadu, Financial Secretary; Ms. Justina Owu-Agyiri, Protocol Officer and Ms. Sadia Moro, Vice Protocol Officer.

The GAEC Ladies Association was founded in 2019 through the relentless efforts of a group of ladies of the Commission. It has since grown in membership and activities. The association, is known for its women empowerment and ensuring the active participation of female in the scientific and non-scientific activities and programmes of the Commission while promoting the development of women in general.

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