The senior official told reporters that she ended her working visit to Cuba with great satisfaction because she verified the high capacities created and developed in the use of nuclear energy in various fields such as public health, the environment, and agriculture.
It has been a mission with very good results because it reviewed what has been achieved through collaboration and planned for the future, in addition to perceiving that Cuba not only receives but also shares, which allows for the implementation of a regional program for the transfer of knowledge in nuclear techniques acquired by Cuban scientists, she said.
When asked by Prensa Latina about the preparation for eventual pandemics, she commented that they intend, with the cooperation of Cuban institutions, to establish a regional epidemiological surveillance system, using nuclear techniques with a good infrastructure to detect viral diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, sika, and other similar mosquito-borne diseases.
She pointed out that based on the impact of Covid-19 on human health, the IAEA is also working with the National Center for Agricultural Health to develop technologies to detect zoonotic diseases before they are transmitted to people.
Mokhtar praised the participation of the Center for Environmental Studies in a nuclear technology project for the control of plastic pollution in the sea, based on all the equipment provided by the IAEA, as a result of long-standing and very strong cooperation in the health sector.
The IAEA deputy director pointed out that in 2020 they were the first to respond to Cuba’s request for laboratory equipment to detect SARS-Cov-2, the cause of Covid-19, and human resources training, in addition to cooperating with surveillance systems on the fire at the supertanker base in Matanzas city.
Najat Mokhtar arrived in Cuba on Saturday and during her stay she has met with authorities from the Ministries of Public Health, Science, Technology and Environment, and Agriculture, with the representation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and Cuban officials of nuclear safety and regulation.