August 28, 2023 (Honolulu, HI) – Twenty-two participants followed a week-long pesticide application training in Pohnpei to prepare and strengthen the island’s ability to respond to vector-borne disease outbreaks. Participants from the Pohnpei Division of Public Health, the Pohnpei Environmental Protection Agency, and the FSM National Environmental Health and Food Safety Program took part in the training from August 7 to 11, 2023.

“This training helps us be more proactive towards vector-borne diseases,” said Ben Amor, FSM Environmental Health and Food Safety Program Manager. “Rather than wait until a vector-borne disease outbreak occurs, it’s better to start equipping our responders with the necessary skills now so that when the time comes, they will be ready,” added Amor.

The training consisted of class work and hands-on activities. Participants were trained on how much pesticides should be applied to certain areas to help protect the environment and the overall processes, policies, and requirements to apply chemical pesticides safely.

“As an Agency that regulates usage of Pesticide here in Pohnpei, it is important that EPA staff be capacitated and certified,” said Pohnpei EPA Director Francisco Celestine. “The next step is to enable all certified staff to be licensed, which will truly help the Pohnpei EPA in the future,” added Celestine.

All 22 trainees took and passed the challenge exam and will be licensed by the Pohnpei Environmental Protection Agency. Navy Entomologist LCDR James Harwood with Task Force Koa Moana 23 and PIHOA Regional Medical Entomologist Dr. Limb Hapairai conducted the training.

“The training was quite timely and valuable as we continue to experience the impact of climate change and globalization,” said Dr. Eliaser Johnson, Epi-Net focal point for the Pohnpei Division of Public Health. “I’m hopeful we will use this knowledge to develop early warning systems to track and manage pests in our communities,” added Johnson.

Dr. Hapairai, with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will continue to provide technical assistance building on the pesticide application training in Pohnpei. The same training is scheduled to take place in Yap and Kosrae later this year.

Read the original PIHOA E-Blast HERE!