IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano highlighted increased technical cooperation with Azerbaijan in areas such as agriculture, nuclear medicine for cancer control and prevention, the importance of having qualified medical physicists and the support provided for the establishment of a research reactor during his visit to Baku, Azerbaijan, this week.
Mr Amano met President Ilham Aliyev, who commended the IAEA for the continued support to his country in the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology. In his remarks, it was agreed to expand collaboration in the field of agriculture, in particular the use of mutation breeding techniques to increase productivity and climate resilience of the Azerbaijani cotton industry.
At his meeting with Acting Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, discussions focused on nine ongoing IAEA supported technical cooperation projects. Mr Mammadyarov thanked the IAEA for the training provided for Azerbaijani experts in the peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
Mr Amano also visited the National Centre of Oncology. In his meeting with the Centre’s Director General Jamil Aliyev, Mr Amano noted the progress achieved through the upgrade of radiotherapy services achieved with IAEA support.
The IAEA has helped Azerbaijan establish, equip, and staff a cyclotron and positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) facility at the Centre, and continues to train staff in radiopharmacy and nuclear medicine. The equipment aids early detection and disease management, and thereby improves the life expectancy of patients.
Mr Amano said that the IAEA stands ready to support Azerbaijan in the application of nuclear medicine to treat non-communicable diseases such as cancer. He highlighted that the continued specialist training to health professionals in cancer care is vital to help them to build, sustain and update their skills to keep pace with technological innovation. Having effective and targeted cancer control programmes is the key to helping patients, he added.
Mr Amano also visited the gamma-radiation center of the National Nuclear Research Center and was briefed by Director Adil Garibov on the number of beneficial applications that include the sterilization of food, medical and agricultural products. The IAEA has been supporting the installation and operation of the gamma irradiator since 2011.
During this visit, Mr Amano also met Yaqub Eyyubov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the State Commission on Cooperation between Azerbaijan and the IAEA, Minister of Emergency Situation Kamaladdin Heydarov and Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Ramin Guluzade.