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NNSA conducts medical training courses for radiation emergencies in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Representatives from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) traveled to South Africa to conduct two International Medical Management of Radiation Injuries (I-MED) courses, the agency said on Aug. 30.

The first course, held the week of Aug. 20, was in Cape Town. The second course, held the week of Aug. 27, was in Pretoria.

“Our partnership on emergency response with South Africa is a significant part of NNSA’s effort to improve nuclear security, prevent proliferation and support peaceful uses of nuclear energy around the world,” said NNSA associate administrator for emergency operations, Joseph Krol. NNSA instructors helped the medical community in South Africa to be prepared to treat injured and contaminated patients in case of a radiological incident.

NNSA said it instructed medical responders in treating injured contaminated patients and courses were attended by physicians, nurses, hospital staff and other medical emergency response personnel from the private sector, regulatory bodies, and the military.

Nearly 40 participants attended the course in Cape Town and 70 in Pretoria, it said. The courses provide the hands-on demonstrations requiring trainees to effectively contain radioactive particles while preparing patients for transport to a hospital for medical care, it added.

As radiation-based technology finds its way into ever-increasing areas of use, it is imperative that the medical community is able to appropriately respond to accidents involving ionizing radiation, it said, adding that the training also prepares the medical response community to effectively respond to radiological terrorism. The courses are supported by personnel from the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE).