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Radiother Oncol. 2002 May;63(2):147-50.

Radiotherapy services in countries in transition: gross national income per capita as a significant factor.

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Section of Applied Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy, Division of Human Health, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Wagramer Strasse 5, P.O. Box 200, A-1400, Vienna, Austria.



The acquisition of radiotherapy by countries in transition (CITs) is an evolutionary process from having no resources whatsoever, to meeting the standards adopted by well-developed countries. The influence of the economic ability of a country to acquire and sustain this technology has intuitively been accepted as a major factor but has not before been subjected to analysis for a large group of countries. This information has been analysed to provide guidance to countries commencing and expanding radiotherapy services.


The number of linear accelerators and (60)Co megavoltage teletherapy machines in 72 CITs, those with gross national income per capita (GNI/cap)<$12000 per annum (pa) and a sample of 12 countries with GNI/cap>$12000 pa were expressed as machines per million population (MEV/mil) and used as an index of the ability of the country to provide a service. This figure was related to GNI/cap. The average populations of 24 further countries without radiotherapy were compared with 21 countries with radiotherapy facilities having the same range of GNI/cap.


The relationship log(10) MEV/mil=-2.90+0.85 log(10) GNI/cap was identified between the machines and income. Also verified was that small low income countries were less likely to have the technology than those with large populations.


The increase in the number of teletherapy machines is closely linked to the GNI/cap of a country. Our sample of well developed countries failed to demonstrate a levelling off of equipment acquisition with income. In the lower income group, smaller countries were less likely to have radiotherapy services than those with large populations.

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