Global Advocacy & Meetings

Child Imaging Safety: WFPI (in partnership with Image Gently and her sister global alliances) 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?”

Global Advocacy for Imaging Safety

World Health Assembly 2015

"Imaging for Saving Kids – the Inside Story about Patient Safety in Paediatric Radiology" 
A collaborative side event held in Geneva on Monday May 26, 2015 during the 68th World Health Assembly 

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).

(NIRS)-WHO Symposium 2014

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".


IAEA - WHO-Government of Tanzania - 2014

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.

Safety Alliances


AFROSAFE is a campaign made by PACORI and radiation workers in Africa. Its main objective is to unite with a common goal to identify and address issues arising from radiation protection in medicine in Africa.

Canada Safe Imaging

Canada Safe Imaging has been formed to address this need for a national strategy and action plan as it relates to radiation safety for medical imaging care in Canada.

EuroSafe Imaging
EuroSafe Imaging is the European Society of Radiology’s latest flagship initiative to promote quality and safety in medical imaging. The mission of EuroSafe Imaging is to support and strengthen medical radiation protection across Europe following a holistic, inclusive approach.


The mission of LatinSafe is to promote through education a safe practice of diagnostic imaging in Latin America with emphasis in radioprotection of patients, and to contribute to enhance the awareness of its importance among radiologists, technicians, and other professionals involved in radiology, referring physicians, patients and parents and in the entire community.