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Rotary receives rheumatic heart disease scanners


Dr. Payne Perman, Kapilly Capelle, and Wefonne Billen, RHD coordinator. Rotary club members from left back Joe Felix, Jr., Konrad Englberger, Noel Boylan, Patrick Pedrus, Hon. George Fraser, Uta Krause, front Steve Finnen, Melner Isaac, Sharon Sawdey.


The Rotary Club of Pohnpei successfully received and donated two hand held scanners used for the detection of rheumatic heart disease in children.

These scanners were donated to Pohnpei Health, represented by its director Kapilly Capelle, Dr.Payne Perman and Wefonne Billen.  RHD is a serious disease.  It is generally caused by strep throat in young children which is not treated.  The disease can then take hold in the heart ultimately causing severe problems which if left untreated can cause death at a young age.

Once the disease reaches a serious stage, heart valve replacement is necessary.  The purpose of the scanners is to assist in early detection.

The disease, once it is in place cannot be cured but it can be halted before catastrophic damage occurs.  The earlier the detection the easier the treatment.  Pohnpei Public Health has been conducting screenings of school age children to try and detect the disease. The next big screening is set for March, 2018.  To provide an idea of the size of the problem in Pohnpei, the typical incidence of RHD in school age populations is under .01%.  That is a very small number.  Screenings in Pohnpei have shown an incidence of approximately 9-10% of all those tested.  Treatment if detected early enough consists of a regimen of antibiotics, which can prevent huge problems later on.

The hand held scanners are to be used at the big screening in March, and for screenings at the schools in the future.  The more kids tested, the more kids that can be treated. Training will take place at the March screening to use the hand held scanners, and nurses are to be trained to provide the screenings. More complex diagnostic tools require a specialized doctor to operate them.

The Rotary Club of Pohnpei is happy to contribute and pursue this worthwhile project.  Each of the scanners costs about $4,300.00.  Support for this project was widespread. One of the scanners was purchased by nine clubs in Japan, Tokyo Akasaka RC, Tokyo Ginza RC, Tokyo Tsukiji RC, Tokyo Shinagawa RC, Tokyo Ebisu RC, Tokyo Hiroo RC, Tokyo Seijyo-shin RC, Tokyo Musashi-Fuchu RC, Tokyo Chuo RC, who are all part of an organization formed and called The Committee for Palau & Micronesia Education and Health Care Support in Tokyo.

Many thanks to them for their wonderful support.

The other scanner was purchased by the Rotary Club of Pohnpei with assistance from clubs in our region, known as the Pacific Basin Group.

This is a big project and we are very thankful that the Rotary Clubs can be of assistance.  We hope to make even more contributions in the future.

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Chuuk Youth organize public dialogue on human trafficking following local case’s court ruling


By the Chuuk Youth Council

Weno, Chuuk-- On January 26th 2018 the Chuuk Youth Council organized and hosted a public dialogue focusing on the issue of human trafficking. This forum brought together key stakeholders, service providers and concerned citizens alike with the aim to raise awareness on the reality of human trafficking in Chuuk and produce a draft resolution that represents the collective voice of the community to be shared with the state leadership on recommendations for ways forward.

This initiative by Chuuk’s young people was a response to the October 2017 human trafficking case in Chuuk that raised concern among the youth and wider community. In what was the FSM’s first successful human trafficking conviction, there was much anticipation of the sentencing to follow as it would set a precedent for how such cases are looked at in the future by not just all stakeholders involved, but for those who the laws are meant to protect. As this is an issue that predominantly affects young people as victims, the Chuuk Youth Council shares a growing concern that the full weight of the law was not enforced in this case that involved a minor, and that this could potentially send the wrong message to perpetrators and victims.

Given the many questions and concerns that were raised after the case, the Chuuk Youth Council thought it would be valuable to host a forum in which the community could come together to ask these questions and voice their concerns, but ultimately contribute to solutions for ways forward.

This event was made possible by the generous support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Chuuk Chamber of Commerce.

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U.S. Government completes Typhoon Maysak reconstruction efforts, broadens environmental resilience support


Embassy of the
United States of America Kolonia

January 20, 2018 Weno, Chuuk — U.S. Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Robert Riley, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director to the Pacific Islands Clay Epperson, and FSM government officials marked the completion of homes and public infrastructure destroyed by Typhoon Maysak.

USAID and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia coordinated with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services, and the Small Business Administration for this reconstruction program, which was implemented by the International Organization of Migration.

In Chuuk and Yap, USAID constructed over 400 new homes and over 150 public facilities, such as schools, clinics, and rain catchment systems.  USAID also provided materials and vouchers worth nearly $2.8 million to over 1,350 beneficiaries who lost their homes, possessions, and livelihoods.  Additionally, USAID trained close to 1,500 local residents to rebuild their homes and communities using resilient designs and quality materials so that the buildings can withstand future disasters.

“Our event today is not just about completing construction projects.  We are also celebrating how our governments, non-governmental partners, and beneficiaries now have greater capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters,” said Ambassador Riley. 

Epperson participated in the event as part of his four-day visit to FSM, during which he met with key partners and toured project sites where USAID is helping the country overcome environmental challenges. He met with the Chuuk Women’s Council — a group that is helping

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Ancient stone money bank receives modern addition

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Colonia, Yap. The Mangyol Stone Money Cultural Site on the island of Yap is a popular sight for tourists to this remote island due to its unique cross-shaped design. Set in lush surroundings with a collection of 71 large discs of the currency that is found nowhere else in the world, visitors come from all over the globe to see the Stone Money that Yap is famous for. Now, the Yap Visitors Bureau (YVB) has added a new accommodation to this ancient site for visitors, a modern restroom facility.

Don Evans, YVB General Manager, recently announced the construction of the small building and noted that “it’s conveniently located in the parking area nearby, but outside the core zone where it’s not a disturbance to the universal value of the site.” Located in Makiy village, Gagil municipality, the site is the most significant undisturbed money bank in Yap and is currently on UNESCO’s “tentative list” for consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“We are striving to provide tourists to Yap with accommodations that will make their visit even more enjoyable,” added Tom Tamangmow, YVB Project Development Manager, who oversaw the design and construction of the new building. “Providing clean restrooms, running water and a dropdown change table for mothers with infants is one way of doing this.”

The area consists of two stone money banks that cross in the middle. One extends south to north and is traditionally referred to as Bleyrach, while the other crosses over from east to west and is referred to as Mangyol. Bleyrach is one of the seven original banks said to have been designated by spirits in the pre-historic era. Mangyol is the last one constructed prior to the Spanish occupation in the 16th century. Historically, both are commonly referred to as Mangyol. It is recommended that visitors go with a local guide. For more information, go to

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Auditions February 16-18 for next Pohnpei Players production

After a highly successful first production at Christmas time, the Pohnpei Players are planning another production “Clever Jack & the Magic Beanstalk” is a charming musical that will surely please audiences this coming May.

They will be holding auditions for the new production.  Auditions for the show are taking place Friday and Saturday, February 16 and 17 at Pohnpei Catholic School.  They are open to anyone 10 and older.  The show includes 12 speaking roles, a very active chorus of approximately 10 people, and a dozen songs with a variety of musical styles. People selected from the first-level auditions Friday and Saturday will be asked to attend a call-back audition Sunday, February 18.

Those interested in auditioning need to be prepared with the following:

  • Come prepared to sing a song! – You can either practice a song for which you have sheet music ready to hand to the audition accompanist, or select one of the common, simple songs (such as Happy Birthday) that will be listed by the accompanist at the audition.
  • Audition:
  • Friday, February 16, 4–7 PM
    – OR –
  • Saturday, February 17, 2–5 PM
  • Location: Pohnpei Catholic School
  • Age: 10 and older

If selected after your first audition, be prepared for:

  • Call-backs (by invitation only) Sunday, February 18, 1–5 PM
  • Rehearsals (location to be determined):
  • Mondays and Tuesdays, 6-8:30 PM
  • Saturdays 4-7:00 PM
  • Tentative Show Dates: May 3 (dress rehearsal), May 4-6 and May 11–13

Pohnpei Players directors Wayne and Kristi Parker are really excited about this show and hope you will all come out to audition!

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FSM commences climate change and disaster risk finance assessment

POHNPEI, FSM (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat) — With a view to advancing their national climate change and disaster risk management priorities, 40 representatives from government departments, state governments, donor partners, private sector, and non-governmental organizations gathered in Pohnpei on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to participate in the introductory workshop for the Federated States of Micronesia’s climate change and disaster risk finance assessment.

In partnership with the government of the Federated States of Micronesia, a joint assessment team led by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, alongside the Pacific Community, with funding from the USAID/SPC Institutional Strengthening in Pacific Islands Countries to Adapt to Climate Change Project, and the USAID Climate Ready Project, will be consulting with a broad range of stakeholders throughout the assessment period from Jan. 29 to Feb. 9, 2018.

Opening the introductory workshop, the secretary for the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Management, Andrew Yatilman, stressed the importance of ensuring that the climate change and disaster risk finance assessment report has utility for the FSM national government and the states — Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae.

He encouraged participants to be open and to share information, with the team, so that the results of the assessment take account of the unique context of FSM.

“There are many sources of funding out there, but we do not need to access everything. We must be strategic and only pursue sources that are in line with our country priorities and commensurate with our absorptive capacity,” said Secretary Yatilman, who is the focal point for this assessment.

Marion Henry, secretary of the Department of Resources and Development, is of the view that “the assessment is critical to provide FSM options on how it could scale-up financing for big projects in sectors such as energy, water and food security.”

Sihna Lawrence, secretary of Finance and Administration and the GCF NDA added that this assessment will provide a mapping of the extent of readiness for potential GCF national implementing entities, in particular the FSM Development Bank and FSM Petrocorp.

FSM has already made significant progress in their commitment to prioritizing increased access to climate change and disaster risk financing, with the Micronesia Conservation Trust becoming an accredited regional implementing entity to the Green Climate Fund or GCF in 2017, and FSM being the first country in the Pacific to develop their GCF Country Program, with the support of GCF readiness funding.

The joint mission will build on work already in progress, by undertaking an assessment of the practical application of options for improved access to and management of, climate change and disaster risk finance, for the FSM. FSM is the ninth Pacific Island Country to undertake a national climate change and disaster risk finance assessment.

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US Navy Medical Corps members provide services in Pohnpei

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By Bill Jaynes

The Kaselehlie Press

February 7, 2018

Pohnpei—Four members of the US Navy’s Medical Corps visited Pohnpei this week.  While here the members offered different types of services including audiology services on a referral basis. 

Lt. Matt Thomas, the audiologist on the team said that the hospital had referred several infants for further hearing tests after they had failed their initial testing.  He said that it is not at all uncommon for infants to fail their initial hearing test and that parents shouldn’t panic if it happens with their child.  He said that if it does happen the parent should wait for a month and have their child re-tested.  There are a number of factors that can influence the results of a hearing test.  He said that it is not at all uncommon for infants to have fluid in their ears that can produce false results.  He also said that some of the testing gear can be influenced by body movement and many babies are in constant motion.

Pohnpei does have audiology testing equipment.  One of those pieces of testing equipment performs the Auditory Brain Stem Response.  Electrodes are placed in the proper locations on a baby’s head.  It generates a series of clicks through headphones and measures the electrical response of the brain stem.  That machine can be used for extremely advanced testing.  However, the electrodes are disposable and Pohnpei has run out.  Lt. Thomas said that a team is coming in a month to calibrate the machine and will also resupply the electrodes.

Lt. Thomas brought his own testing equipment, one of which conducts an Oto Acoustic Emissions (OAE) test.  He said it is the quickest and most reliable test for infants but that each of the testing methods can be influenced by outside factors.  Essentially, the small hand held machine sends out a tone and measures the echo it receives back from the ear.  Thomas said a healthy ears sends an echo back.  They can tell a great deal based on the frequency the ear sends back.

Thomas said that he’d been in Chuuk several times to perform tests.  We asked him if during his visits he had noticed any tendency for higher numbers of congenital deafness.  He said that he had not seen any evidence of that; however, he said that a large number of cases of hearing loss might have been able to have been avoided.

“Children get a lot of ear infections,” he said.  “It’s important that those infections be treated and that the treatment is followed until cleared by a doctor.”  He said that he’s seen several cases where an ear infection destroyed the ear drum of the patient resulting in permanent hearing loss.  “It’s vital that patients follow doctor’s instructions for treatment and should not stop until they are cleared by the doctor.”  He said that during treatment a patient should not swim and should keep their ears dry in order for the treatments to work.

The members of the Navy Medical team included Lt. Commander Eva Reed who is a Senior Global Health Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser.  She did consultation with departments of health while she was here.  Lt. Junior Grade Christopher Low is an Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Safety Scientist.  He had been scheduled to visit several schools in Pohnpei during his visit to test for asbestos and lead paint.  Due to the cancellation of classes during the first two days of his visit his visits had to be significantly shortened and scheduled all on one day.

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