Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mauritius have now been certified for the first time by radio pharmacists. Two years from now, a master’s program supported by the IAAF will help meet the growing demand for radio pharmacists in Africa.
They were the first group of students to receive a master’s degree in radio pharmacy at a public ceremony organized by the Moroccan National Center for Energy, Nuclear Science and Technology (CNESTEN) in July this year. The program, organized by Rabat Mohammed V University and in collaboration with CNESTEN, is the first postgraduate course in radiology in Africa, France.
Radiopharmacy involves the preparation and treatment of radioactive drugs with a variety of clinical applications, from diagnosis to treatment and sedation. Radiographic drugs are increasingly used to treat cancer, screen tumors, select appropriate treatment methods, and monitor and evaluate the behavior of a tumor. Radiographic drugs are manufactured in hospitals or in industrial radio pharmacies around the world by radiologists who are responsible for ensuring product quality and radiation safety.
Jean-Eric Granger, from Côte d’Ivoire, explains why he decided to pursue his degree: “After seeing cancer increase in my country, I decided to pursue training and recognition at a radio pharmacy. My next step is to return to my country’s nuclear medical institute, support the graduation, and start working for the safety of the people of Ivory Coast. I want to continue my education and earn a PhD in radio pharmacy, and I will eventually support future generations of radio pharmacists in my country.
Victor Ganson, a graduate of Kiswindsida, Burkina Faso, emphasized the need for radiopharmaceutical drugs to be developed, manufactured and controlled in line with international standards. “RadioAffharmacy provides unique, safe, and effective radioactive energy, and nuclear medicine helps to achieve high standards and tangible results,” he said.
The French Language Master Program has been upgraded from the next IAEA Technical Cooperation Project launched in 2018 to increase radio pharmacy capacity in Africa.
“Radiopharmaceutical science is a dynamic and growing field of expertise for talent professionals,” said Melissa Denik, director of the IAEA Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences. The master’s program is empowering these graduates and contributing to the management of cancer and other diseases on the African continent.
The curriculum includes practical exercises in CNESTEN Molecular Biology Laboratories. Manufactured by acupuncture techniques, thermocouples and cyclosporine by the company Cyclofarma; And exploring the work of both radioactive production and radioactive waste management facilities. Students participate in train trainers to strengthen their capacity to support the deployment of additional radio pharmaceutical technologies in their home countries.
“These students are responsible for establishing radio pharmacy services and supporting improved human health,” said Shaukat Abdulrazak, director of the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation’s Africa Division.
Next year, students from Cameroon, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, and Tunisia are expected to graduate from the master’s program.