Child Imaging Safety: WFPI (in partnership with Image Gently) in Global Advocacy & Meetings.

New tool: Communicating radiation risks in paediatric imaging

Worldwide, an estimated 3.6 billion diagnostic medical examinations, such as X-rays, are performed every year. This number continues to grow as more people access medical care. About 350 million of these are performed on children under 15 years of age.

Using radiation in medical imaging can save lives and prevent the need for more invasive procedures, but inappropriate use may lead to unnecessary and unintended radiation doses for patients. Because children are smaller and have a longer lifespan than adults their risk of developing radiation-induced effects is greater.

“If patients and families are not properly informed about the risks and benefits of an imaging procedure, they may make choices that are more harmful rather than beneficial to their health, such as refusing a CT that is needed or demanding a CT that is not justified,” says Dr Maria del Rosario Perez, a scientist with WHO’s Department of Public Health.

To improve safety WHO launched a Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Health Care Settings in 2008 with the aim to mobilize the health sector towards safe and effective use of radiation in medicine. One key priority is to improve the communication of radiation risk in paediatric imaging to ensure an effective and balanced benefit-risk dialogue between health care providers, families and patients.

A new WHO publication, “Communicating radiation risks in paediatric imaging: Information to support health care discussions about benefit and risk”, aims to help health-care providers communicate known or potential radiation risks associated with paediatric imaging procedures. The document provides several approaches to help medical professionals answer questions, like “How much radiation will my child receive?” and “How much medical radiation is too much?”


Webinar, Friday 22nd April

Join WHO’s WEBINAR to launch the publication on Friday 22nd April between 12:30h and 14:00h Central Europe Time. The session will bring together guest speakers to discuss the benefit-risk dialogue in paediatric imaging and how this can be achieved to improve health service delivery in the context of patient, family and community centred care. To register and participate in the webinar, click the link here. WELCOME!!

About the publication:

The document is freely available at this link , where you will find the pdf full report version plus three separate pdf files for end-users to be able to download separately the  chapters 1, 2 & 3. 
Written in English, you will also find the executive summary availiable in Arabic, Chinese, English French, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese.
The document has also been posted on the webpage of the Department on Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE) and on the main page of the WHO website with a feature story at to learn more about this project.     


World Health Assembly 2015 - Imaging for Saving Kids


"Imaging for Saving Kids – the Inside Story about Patient Safety in Paediatric Radiology" 

A collaborative side event held in Geneva on Monday May 26 during the 68th World Health Assembly 

for summary report: "Imaging for Saving Kids"

This event was co-organised by 4 WHO member states and 9 NGOs* to bring together policymakers, health care providers and patients to jointly discuss what could be done to improve health and service delivery by maximising the benefits and minimising the risks when using medical imaging in children and how this could be achieved.

During the event Dr. Donald Frush "set the scene" regarding radio protection and safe imaging in children, providing information on the Image Gently campaign. European, Latin American, African and different stakeholder perspectives were then presented. Dr. Gloria Soto, WFPI's incoming Vice President and former President of the Inter-American College of Radiology (CIR), was invited to participate as an International Society of Radiology/ISR and CIR representative and referred to the situation, reality and challenges of safe imaging in children in the Latin American region. See here for the agenda listing all participants and their specific topics.


Drs. Donald Frush and Gloria Soto: back row, 3rd and 4th from R

Overall this was a unique opportunity to enhance visibility of pediatric imaging and the importance of safe imaging in children at a global level. It should be considered the first leg of a long, long journey ahead.

A highly fruitful debriefing meeting held at WHO headquarters after the event resulted in a set of solid proposals for the way forward. It was stated that WFPI is in complete alignment with Safe Imaging in children and willing to participate in initiatives to promote and enhance it globally.


*Jointly organised by the Governments of Kenya, Malaysia, Spain, and Uganda together with the following NGOs in official relations with the WHO: Diagnostic Imaging, Healthcare IT and Radiation Therapy Trade Association (DITTA), International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), International Organisation of Medical Physics (IOMP), International Society of Radiology (ISR), International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT), RAD-AID International, World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB), and World Organisation of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners / Family Physicians (WONCA).



As a WHO Collaborating Centre, a National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS)-WHO Symposium on “Children and Radiation” was held in Tokyo on 8-9 December 2014.

It formed one of the activities implemented by the NIRS in support of the WHO Global Initiative (GI) on Radiation Safety in Health Care Settings.

The Symposium addressed topics in the areas of risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. 


Representative for Image Gently and WFPI: Dr. Osamu Miyazaki, Department of Radiology, National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan (image above and left) who presented "Image Gently, Five steps you can take to optimize image quality and lower CT dose for pediatric patients".



The Pan African Congress of Radiology and Imaging (PACORI) is a biennial scientific exhibition that brings all experts in radiation medicine in Africa under one roof to discuss and review pertinent issues related to radiology and medical imaging in Africa and beyond. 

Founded in 2000 through the efforts of radiologist and radiographers in the greater East African region, PACORI has since incorporated other African countries. This year's meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2015, organized by the Society of Radiography in Kenya (SORK), the Kenya Association of Radiologists (KAR) and industry sponsors. The theme: “Beyond Millennium Development Goals: radiology towards sustainable healthcare”.  

Left to right: Kimberly Applegate, Image Gently and WFPI (Atlanta, USA), Michael Gray, ASRT and ISSSR educator  from Kentucky), Debbie Gilley, IAEA representative for Africa region (Vienna), Marie Claire Cantone, representative for ICRP (from Milan, Italy), Dr. Kittony, professor of radiology in Nairobi, Kenya, Maria Perez, representative for WHO (Geneva) and Dr. Sidika Wambani, founder of the PACORI meetings from Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Applegate delivered a combination of short lectures with audience Q&A on the Basic Safety Standards, the Bonn Call for Action, and presentation summaries of Image Gently modules, WFPI work, ICRP policy statements and free educational materials of use to the audience.

A major moment: the launch of AFROSAFE 

AFROSAFE, a campaign created by PACORI and other radiation health workers in Africa on 17th February 2015. 

AFROSAFE’s main objective is to unite organizations and individuals in Africa who seek to promote quality, safe, and appropriate use of diagnostic, screening and therapeutic medical procedures employing ionizing radiation with a common goal: identify and address issues arising from radiation protection in medicine in Africa. 

AFROSAFE's mission: "To ensure that throughout Africa, the benefits outweigh the harms for all individuals exposed to radiation for screening, diagnosis, or therapy at all levels of care." AFROSAFE plans to achieve its goals through supporting adherence to policies, strategies and activities for the promotion of radiation safety.

The genesis of this campaign is the joint position statement by the IAEA and WHO known as the Bonn Call-for-Action, inaugurated in December 2012

The colorful launch ceremony was presided over by the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya, Dr. Nicholus Muraguri. The minister pledged the support of government towards the realization of AFROSAFE objectives. The African countries with nationals present at the PACORI all  "verbally" assented to  the Afrosafe declaration as it was read it out at the launch. They included Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Ghana, and Nigeria.  In the future signatures to the declaration will be collected for those countries with professional societies.

Dr. Jaishree Naidoo (President of the African and South African Pediatric Imaging Societies; AfSPI/SASPI) also attended the meeting, speaking on POC ultrasound and bowel obstruction in the neonate and older child and liaising with Drs. María del Rosario Pérez (WHO) and Kimberly Applegate on the highlighting and launching of AFROSAFE's pediatric component at SASPI’s upcoming congress in 2016. Watch this space!


To celebrate the International Day of Radiology 2015, theme pediatrics, the Kenya Association of Radiologists (KAR) and the Society of Radiographers in Kenya (SORK) held a joint Radiology Week running from 31st October to 6th November at the Kenyatta National Hospital (image below). A series of activities were planned including medical camps, discussions on radiation safety using both print and electronic media, a one-day symposium and sensitization walk. The goal of the week was to create awareness on the safe use of Radiation, promote use of imaging and therapeutic protocols and reduce inappropriate imaging. It cummulated with the launch of the AFROSAFE Operational Matrix, to be circulated to the rest of Africa: HERE IT IS  

 For a more thorough briefing on AFROSAFE click here

IAEA - WHO-Government of Tanzania

Regional workshop to raise awareness on medical physicists’ roles in ensuring safety in imaging- with emphasis on pediatric imaging. Dar es Salaam, Republic of Tanzania. 26th - 28th November 2014. 


The workshop was organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and supported by the Government of Tanzania under AFRA project RAF-6048. Participants at the workshop included medical physicists and senior officials of the Health ministries of 26 African Countries, Officers of the Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Tanzania, and the Africa representative of the IAEA and WHO officials as well as experts from Europe and the USA. 

Representative for Image Gently and WFPI: Dr Ademola Aekanmi, Consultant Radiologist, Department of Radiology, University College hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria (images above, below). 

 for full report 

Workshop conclusion:

  • Considering the impact of radiation hazards in the African population (where data of radiation exposure is often lacking); 
  • noting that children are more radiosensitive with longer years to express non deterministic biological effects of radiation, if any; and 
  • in view of the rapidly developing technological advances with newer radiological equipment as Africa acquires more high tech imaging modalities, 

there is great need for advocacy and education on radiation effects focused on imaging professionals, referring physicians and the public on the roles of medical physicists and the urgent need of their inclusion into medical imaging professionals in all African countriesThere is also need for research into radiation doses in African countries for baseline and prognostication, thereby enhancing patient safety.

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