(2012; 5 pages)
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held the “International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine: Setting the Scene for the Next Decade” in Bonn, Germany, in December 2012, with the specific purpose of identifying and addressing issues arising in radiation protection in medicine.
The conference was co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), hosted by the Government of Germany through the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and attended by 536 participants and observers from 77 countries and 16 organizations. An important outcome of the conference was the identification of responsibilities and a proposal for priorities for stakeholders regarding radiation protection in medicine for the next decade. This specific outcome is the Bonn Call-for-Action.
There is no doubt that the application of ionizing radiation and radioactive materials in diagnostic, interventional and therapeutic procedures in medicine is beneficial for hundreds of millions of people each year. However, employing radiation in medicine has to involve a careful balance between the benefits of enhancing human health and welfare, and the risks related to the radiation exposure of people. There is a need for a holistic approach which includes partnership of national governments, civil society, international agencies, researchers, educators, institutions and professional associations aiming at identifying, advocating and implementing solutions to address existing and emerging challenges; and leadership, harmonization and co-ordination of activities and procedures at an international level. The aims of the Bonn Call-for-Action are to:
- strengthen the radiation protection of patients and health workers overall;
- attain the highest benefit with the least possible risk to all patients by the safe and appropriate use of ionizing radiation in medicine;
- aid the full integration of radiation protection into health care systems;
- help improve the benefit/risk-dialogue with patients and the public; and
- enhance the safety and quality of radiological procedures in medicine.