16 March 2022

In an official ceremony presided over by the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Luis Arce Catacora, the Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy Center was inaugurated in the city of El Alto.

The new Center, located in the most populated municipality of Bolivia, is the most complex in the country and will provide care for a great number of people who lacked access up to date to the technology now installed.

The event was attended by the Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energy, Franklin Molina Ortiz; the Minister of Health and Sports, Jeyson Ausa; the main authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rogelio Mayta Mayta; and the General Executive Director of the Bolivian Atomic Energy Agency (ABEN, in Spanish), Hortensia Jiménez Rivera; among other Bolivian authorities. As regards our country’s participation, present at the ceremony were, on behalf of the Argentine National Commission of Atomic Energy (CNEA, in Spanish), Gustavo Santa Cruz, Manager of the Nuclear Medicine Area, and María Fernanda Domínguez, Manager of the Academic Area; and on behalf of INVAP, Marcelo Basigalup, Deputy General Manager and Juan Carlos Rodríguez, Manager of Information and Communications Technology Projects and of Technological Services; as well as representatives of the Argentine Embassy in Bolivia.

This inauguration is in the context of the contract between ABEN and INVAP, signed on February 2018, which includes the complete design of three nuclear medicine centers; their construction, equipment installation, start-up, the training of human resources and consultancy services for their sustainable management.
With this project, health care capacity through imaging will be provided to the community for the early diagnosis of oncological, cardiac and neurological diseases; as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

El Alto Center is equipped with two linear accelerators, a complete brachytherapy room, a tomography simulator, a dosimetry laboratory, and nuclear medicine equipment using PET/CT and SPECT/CT for diagnosis. The PET/CT of this Center is the first one of this kind available in the public area and the second in the country, with the great social impact that it implies.

El Alto has been conceived as an Educational Center for the nuclear medicine training of professionals in Bolivia and is part of the Network of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy Centers that will have similar headquarters in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, with a total investment of US$ 150.7 million for the three Centers.

In the context of this project, more than 120 Bolivian professionals are being trained in the Academic Centers of CNEA and several public and private institutions in Argentina. It is hoped that a valuable professional integration of the aforementioned specialties between both countries will thus be achieved.

This turnkey project is a relevant case of technology transfer to our sister nation and strengthens Argentina’s role as a global example on the use of nuclear energy for medical purposes.