PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING FOR HEALTH OFFICIALS

PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING FOR HEALTH OFFICIALS

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Sixteen health inspectors are undergoing a workshop, which aims to enhance Fiji’s National Vector Control Unit’s (NVCU) capacity to respond to vector-borne disease epidemics.

The two-week long training program is being facilitated by representatives of the US Navy’s Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit Six (NEPMU-6), who are based out of Hawaii, and is part of an ongoing subject matter expert exchange plan.

Chief Health Inspector, Mr Dip Chand said it is the first time the US Navy is playing an instrumental role as facilitators for training, which is designed and contextualized to address health issues that are vector borne.

“The workshop can contribute positively in enhancing the Pesticide Act by introducing mechanisms which will screen potential pest control companies that wish to operate in Fiji,” Mr Chand said.

“A cross-sectoral and holistic approach needs to be adopted for the successful implementation of pesticide application and the ministry welcomes the initiative to open dialogue with tertiary institutions that would like to introduce this as a core unit in their curriculum.”

US Navy Lieutenant Dr James Harwood said the team’s core focus would be on pesticide application techniques, pesticide applicator safety and mosquito identification training.

“Fiji is the hub of the Pacific, and is exposed to people coming in from places where malaria occurs, so we will also discuss ways of trapping these mosquitoes and methods used for controlling so that we can build the capacity to respond to those threats,” Dr Harwood said.

“We can’t have these individuals suffering from pesticide when they are ones being relied on to protect us from dengue, chikungunya and other potential virus that could come in”.

Once established, this program has the potential to serve as a regional center of excellence and the training program could be leveraged for other Pacific Island nations.

MINISTER PAYS TRIBUTE TO 21 YEARS OF SERVICE

MINISTER PAYS TRIBUTE TO 21 YEARS OF SERVICE

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Last Thursday, the Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate paid tribute to Empower Pacific on its 21st anniversary for the counselling and support services it has provided Fijians since its inception.

Speaking at the celebrations in Lautoka, Minister Usamate said the partnership between the Ministry and Empower Pacific has seen many Fijians benefit from its services.

“Empower Pacific has played and will continue to play an important role in our health system and perhaps the greatest interest is the ability of Empower Pacific to provide counsellors with specialist STI and HIV certification,” he said.

“This service has been the backbone of our antenatal HIV testing and counselling programme and last year reached over 13, 000 pregnant women across Fiji.”

He also paid tribute to the founder and volunteers of the non-governmental organisation, saying their services have been invaluable to the work carried out around the country.

Hon. Usamate called on closer collaboration between Empower Pacific and the Ministry of Health to further strengthen their work.

“Empower Pacific has and will continue to play a critical role in the ministry’s mental health programme and even today it is evident in almost daily referrals of patients for crisis counselling from our mental health units and health facilities,” Hon. Usamate said.

“I thank Empower Pacific for maintaining high standards of training and qualifications and am pleased that they are able to serve the clients and patients in our health outlets.”