Government has urged the new Radiation Protection Authority (RPA) board to protect the Zambian people from hazardous effects of radiation.
Minister of Health Joseph Kasonde said there have been reports of accidents involving the use of ionizing radiation materials that have caused harm on people in the world.
Dr. Kasonde said the board should mitigate the risks of harming both the environment and the Zambian people if dispersal devices are found in wrong hands in accordance with the Ionising Radiation Protection Act No. 16 of 2005.
He said this in Lusaka today when he inaugurated and ushered in a 10-member new RPA board which is chaired by Dr. Esther Munalula-Nkandu.
“Despite the beneficial use of radio-active materials, they can be harmful and dangerous if they are found in wrong hands as they can be used for malicious purposes. Therefore, I emphasize the important role the newly appointed board will play in mitigating the risks by protecting the Zambian people,” Dr. Kasonde said.
Dr. Kasonde further challenged the new board to establish an effective national protection infrastructure where inspections and examinations will be conducted in relation to compliance for nuclear materials.
He also challenged the board to remain profession and focused in executing its duties noting that there was a legal framework in place that would give it regulatory powers.
He reiterated government’s support to the authority and advised it to partner with other stakeholders such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in sharing experiences in the field of radiation safety to raise regulatory standards in Zambia to international level.
And speaking at the same occasion, newly inaugurated RPA board chairperson Esther Munalula-Nkandu said the board will endeavour to meet the aspirations of government and the Zambian people at large.
Dr. Munalula-Nkandu thanked government for bestowing it with trust and great responsibility.
“With the diversity and level of expertise on the board, we are confident and assure you Honourable Minister Dr. Kasonde that the board will not fail to deliver on our mandate,” she said.