Non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disorders kill millions of people each year, affected each year is putting great pressure on countries to provide effective solutions, even though the resources to diagnose and treat these conditions may be scarce, or often, not available. Many people die of diseases that could have been treatable under better healthcare systems. To counter these health threats, the IAEA has established the programme in Human Health to enhance capabilities in Member States.
In the past two centuries, the field of medicine has seen unique advances. Alongside discoveries like the smallpox vaccine and antibiotics, the discovery of radiation and radionuclides for use in medicine has led to more diversified and effective prevention, diagnostic and treatment options for many health conditions. Diseases like cancer that were once considered unmanageable and fatal can now be diagnosed earlier and treated more effectively using nuclear techniques, thus giving patients a fighting chance and, for many, a significant chance for a cure.
The IAEA has worked for over 50 years to promote the use of nuclear techniques in medicine by working together with its Member States and other organizations in various projects. The Agencyʼs aim is to help build Member Statesʼ capacities in this field in order to support the establishment of high quality health care worldwide. Since the IAEA began its work in human health, the use of nuclear techniques in medicine has become one of the most widespread peaceful applications of atomic energy.
This package contains a selection of examples of project outcomes of the IAEA Division of Human Health (NAHU). The stories contained in this package give a snapshot of the various areas of support provided by the Sections of the NAHU Division and examples of projects that have helped enhance capabilities in Member States to address needs related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health problems through the application of nuclear techniques.