Sierra Leone Ambassador in Germany, Dr. M’Baimba Lamin Baryoh has participated in this year’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) bilateral conference that was held virtual and has highlighted the progress that Sierra Leone has made in actualizing the activities of IAEA.
His Excellency Baryoh informed that in the field of animal and human health, various technical Corporation programs have in the past helped Sierra Leone to improve the nutrient content in crops through the development of new plant varieties as well as training of our Scientists in both plant breeding and nutrient analysis, e.g. new varieties of Rice (our staple food) and cassava are now being developed at NJala University College. He disclosed that the Veterinary Scientists of IAEA are currently training their counterparts in the country to catch, sample and diagnose potentially virus transmitting Bats using Nuclear derived techniques, adding that Sierra Leone is currently working on establishing a Radiotherapy Center for which one Medical Physicist has already been trained, adding that two more and one Medical Oncologist are presently undergoing training through its Technical Cooperation (TC) programs.
“I would want to mention the fight against Zoonotic diseases as well as the support and assistance the country got in the form of PPE’s, test kits and RT-PCR equipment, which went a long way in helping us in combatting COVID-19,” he said, adding by thanking the IAEA for the additional support provided to strengthen the regulatory infrastructure and the management of our water resources, which include training and research on using Isotope techniques to provide invaluable information to water resource Managers, Government and Scientists. He went on to say that in October 2019 IAEA’s Division for Nuclear Safety visited Sierra Leone to give support to the country and review the six functional areas of the Integrated National Security Support (INSSP) and to identify achievements as well as additional needs which would assist the country prioritize the implementation of nuclear security activities.
“I had the honor and privilege to give the keynote address in the session on “SIERRA LEONE’S OBLIGATIONS TO THE FIELD OF NUCLEAR SECURITY UNDER RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS, ” he said, adding that the Small Quantity Protocols (SQP) had been signed and the other additional Protocol (AP) are also on their way. He informed that these will increase IAEA’s ability to verify the peaceful use of nuclear material in Sierra Leone and subsequently enable the country to contribute to the strong infrastructure and nuclear non-proliferation regime. He added that during the 63rd General conference of IAEA held in Vienna last year which had as its main topic “A DECADE OF ACTION AND CANCER CONTROL, AND THE WAY FORWARD”, he went on to say that IAEA stepped up efforts in helping Sierra Leone to establish the Radiotherapy Center.
“I hope this bilateral meeting will make us get closer to achieving the priority areas that both parties have identified,” he said, adding by thanking members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for convening the conference amidst the fight against the corona virus. Ambassador Baryoh added that the 2nd Country Program Framework (CPF) for Sierra Leone 2019-2023 was signed by the Hon. Minister of Energy and Power Mr. Kanja Sesay and H.E Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of Technical Cooperation on the 14th and 20th of May 2019, respectively. He said that before they reached the expected consensus five priority areas were identified. These are: Nuclear and Radiation therapy, Food and Agriculture, Human and animal health, Water resource management and Environmental application.
The IAEA is also organizing Fellowships to provide young Professionals and University graduates with an opportunity to develop hands-on experience to achieve academic accreditation related to the application of nuclear technology.
Idrissa Hilton Gogra
Sierra Leone Embassy in Berlin Germany