Impact of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) actions on radiation protection of patients in many countries.
In the 1990s, there was a lack of information on patient doses in most developing countries. In 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency initiated projects aimed at assessing 'how safe are patients in radiological procedures and how to make them safer'. The major obstacle was a lack of medical physicists with patient dosimetry skills and a lack of dosimetry facilities. Actions taken were such as to yield results within a short span of time and a number of publications with interesting findings. Results showed that while patient doses in radiography are largely within diagnostic reference levels (DRLs), poor image quality is rampant. In mammography, CT and interventional procedures, doses higher than DRLs were observed. Dose management actions were implemented and significant improvements emerged. Utilising existing manpower (physicists, regulators, radiographers, radiologists), preparing detailed guidelines and data collection forms, focussing training on acquiring dosimetry skills, a system of periodic reports with mentoring and motivating collaborations within each country are some of the reasons for the success of the project.
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