For Immediate Release

August 28, 2023

Twenty-Two Participants Completed Pesticide Applicator Training in Pohnpei!

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.


About the Pacific Islands Health Officers' Association

The Pacific Islands Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA) mission is to improve the health and well-being of the USAPIs by providing, through consensus, a unified credible voice on health issues of regional significance. Established in 1986, PIHOA is governed by and represents the collective interests of the USAPI health leadership from American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. 


PIHOA’s Secretariat, comprised of executive, administrative, and technical staff and consultants, provides support to the USAPI health agencies and leadership in the following priority areas: health workforce development; epidemiology and surveillance; health systems performance improvement; laboratory services; regional health leadership and policy advocacy; and, Pacific health security. PIHOA has two offices in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and Hagåtña, Guam.

Media Contacts

Billie Hiraishi

Communications Officer

Dr. Limb Hapairai

Regional Medical Entomologist