ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has hailed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) initiative to facilitate early detection and prevention of future zoonotic outbreaks.

The Zoonotic Disease Integrated Action (ZODIAC) was established in June 2020 to help countries prevent pandemics caused by bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses that originate in animals and can be transmitted to humans.

Addressing the annual general conference of IAEA in Vienna on Friday, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Chairman Dr Raja Ali Raza Anwar said the country was looking forward to contribute towards the success of this programme.

Dr Anwar said nuclear technology was playing a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and the PAEC has added one more hospital to its fleet of 18 cancer hospitals.

The construction of another hospital was underway, he said adding that these hospitals were catering to over one million patients annually.

The PAEC chairman also stressed on the need to curb Greenhouse Gas emissions in the wake of catastrophic floods in Pakistan.

Pakistan was taking steps to limit GHG emissions by constantly reevaluating the energy mix, he added.

“With the sixth operating nuclear reactor coming online, the contribution of nuclear power in the energy mix has increased to about 15 per cent,” Dr Anwar said, adding that the country’s nuclear power generation capacity has increased to 3,530MW.

Apart from power generation, Pakistan is also reaping the benefits of nuclear technology in the areas of agriculture, human health, industry and environment, he added.

The devastation caused by floods has also highlighted the need to set up a global fund to mitigate climatic disaster in developing countries which is crucial to reduce human suffering, he said.

Meanwhile, IAEA said it has been working on enhancing global preparedness to respond to and prevent the next outbreak of zoonotic diseases.

“Our member states were participating actively in the ZODIAC initiative for integrating nuclear and related techniques in this endeavour,” IAEA said.

Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2022

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