Radiation, medical imaging: Hazards to healthcare workers

KARACHI: Radiation Safety Committee (RSC), Department of Nuclear Medicine, Ziauddin University Hospital on Tuesday organized a symposium, titled “Radiation and Health Imaging: Hazards to Healthcare Workers” to spread the knowledge about hazards and ways of safe handling of radiation by healthcare providers.

Dr Nosheen Fatima, Chairperson Radiation Safety Committee and head of department Nuclear Medicine, Ziauddin University Hospital elaborated the role and vision of Radiation Safety Committee (RSC) in reliable and accurate radiation therapy measures.

She urged the need for maintaining a safe environment at practices involving radiations. “We are all exposed to radiation from the sun, rocks and food and other natural resources,” she said while discussing how people are exposed to radiations. She told that the approximately 80 percent of total radiation exposure to mankind is from natural sources while medical and professional exposure contributes only to 20 percent.

Syed Mishkat Ali Jafri, Principal Scientific Officer Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), enlightened the fundamentals of safety principles, the core functions and responsibilities of PNRA in monitoring the radiation exposure and ensuring the safe handling of radiation in Pakistan, and how to apply radiation safety standards in various fields. “Our mission is to protect radiation workers, general public and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation,” he said.

Dr Maseeh uz Zaman, Section Head Nuclear Medicine, discussed the historic journey of radiation, its direct and indirect effects and acute radiation syndromes such as Hematologic Syndrome, Gastrointestinal Syndrome and Central Nervous System Syndrome.

He affirmed that early effects may occur with approximately 25 Rem and greater while stochastic effects occur after an extended chronic exposure to radiation. He added that these effects are difficult to quantify and may take a lot of time to become evident.

Khalid Hussain, Regional Nuclear Safety Directorate PNRA, graced the occasion as guest of honor. He congratulated the RSC for organizing such informative and successful events.