FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs

THE PROJECT FOR PACIFIC CO – LEARNING TOWARDS RESILIENT HEALTH SYSTEM: The first Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) Meeting

The Project for Pacific Co-learning Towards Resilient Health System was launched in 2023, to build a resilient health system in the Maternal and Child Health (MCH), that can respond to health emergencies in the Pacific region. The Project started in November 2024 and will carry out relevant activities until June 2028.

The first Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC)Meeting was held on May 15th at the conference room of Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA) in Pohnpei, with members from Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae participating remotely. The main objective of the meeting was to share and agree on the work plan developed for the JICA Project based on the results of situation analysis.

Honorable Marcus Samo, Secretary of DHSA gave his opening remarks by appreciating the JCC members from all four states and JICA. He highlighted the importance of maintaining essential health services in health emergencies for the “build back better” health system.

The participants actively discussed the implementation strategies including modification of existing MCH guidelines and manuals, in-service training, use of digital technology, and networking among the Pacific countries. The challenges of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services in FSM were also shared to identify potential and feasible solutions to improve MCH delivery in the islands.

In the Closing remark, Mr. Kunihiro Yamauchi, JICA Micronesia Resident Representative thanked all JCC members for their active participation, and expressed his commitment to continue supporting FSM, through dispatch of JICA volunteers and other cooperation schemes to improve health system along with the JICA Project.

DHSA Food Analyst Attends the First Pacific Islands Laboratory Week Workshop in Tonga

Food Analyst Ms. Kesusa Marquez-Yaropiy from the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs Food Lab attended the First Pacific Islands Laboratory Week Workshop in Nuku’alofa, Tonga from the 18th to the 22nd March 2024.  The workshop represents an important milestone for the regional PQI Initiative to continue to strengthen cooperation and coordination among Pacific Island Countries on Quality Infrastructure (QI), with the aim of improving access to reliable laboratory testing services across the regions. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together the Pacific Islands Testing Committee to discuss the recommendations from PQI laboratory survey, the Committee’s governance structure including its Terms of Reference, and to plan upcoming activities; to do training session and site visit to Tonga’s laboratories; and to raise awareness of the importance of reliable testing trade and the wellbeing of the people of the pacific. Delegation from the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Australia, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Tonga were the participants. The event was organized by the Pacific Quality Infrastructure (PQI) initiative, Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests and Ministry of Trade & Economic Development, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

2024 FSM Health Summit Successfully Concludes

Palikir, Pohnpei – April 28, 2024 – The Federated States of Micronesia Department of Health & Social Affairs concluded its 2024 Health Summit held from April 22-26, 2024 in Palikir, Pohnpei. The event brought together leaders from the National and State Governments, program managers and staff, stakeholders, partners, and members from the communities to deliberate on strategies to advancing the nation’s health in 2024 and beyond.

Delivering the keynote address, The Honorable Vice President Aren B. Palik highlighted the healthcare challenges confronting the FSM, emphasizing the shortage of skilled personnel, the need for enhanced professionalism among healthcare practitioners, technological gaps, and the imperative for life-saving treatments to elevate healthcare services. The Vice President underscored the ongoing shortfall of proficient doctors and nurses while acknowledging the current effort of College of Micronesia-FSM in graduating new nurses.  The Vice President also indicated to the audience that as a Nation we “need to do more” if we are to meet the demand for better and more complex healthcare need of the people in the coming days. The Vice President concluded his statement by reaffirming to the 300 plus audience to keep in mind that in everything we do “ unity is our strength and prosperity”, which is also the vision of the Simina-Palik Administration theme.

The five-day Health Summit structured around technical meetings and workshops.  Several thematic areas surfaced from the discussions and summarized in seven categories: (1) Leadership, Governance and Management, (2) Human Resources for Health, (3) Health Service Delivery, (4) Health Information, Planning & Surveillance, (5) Health Through the Life Course, (6) Social and Environmental Determinants of Health, and (7) Health Financing.

Throughout the Health Summit, technical experts from local, regional and international organizations, including representatives from the UN Agencies (WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, FAO), World Bank, ADB, JICA, SPC, Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA), Association of State and Territorial Health Organization (ASTHO), COM-FSM and other partners, contributed valuable insights and recommendations to inform the formulation of strategic policies. The Minister of Health and Human Services from the Republic of Palau, the Hon. Gaafar Uherbelau, was also present and provided valuable advice as well as real-life experience from Palau.

The participants adopted universal health coverage for all as the unified vision for the next Framework for Sustainable Health Development in the Federated States of Micronesia: 2024-2034, which was the hallmark of the Summit, and lead to its endorsement by the Chief Executives. Additionally, the following documents were also launched: FSM Early Childhood Development Policy (2024-2028), Nutrition Action Plan (2020-2030), Healthy Eating Guidelines (2023-2027), and National Operational Guidelines on Adolescent and Youth-Friendly Health Services 2024.

As the FSM embarks on this transformative journey towards achieve its goal “Better Health for All”, the momentum generated by the National Health Summit signals a pivotal moment in the nation’s healthcare trajectory.  In closing the Summit on behalf of His Excellency Wesley W. Simina, Secretary Marcus Samo remarked “our Unity is our Strength and Prosperity. We believe in the power and strength of unity.  We believe in leaving no communities behind”. Secretary Samo concluded by saying that the outlook for health development is exciting.  There are opportunities ahead; we need to take bold steps to achieve better health for all. 

2nd Micronesian Ministers for Women Conference 2024: Advancing Gender Equality in Micronesia

A ministerial delegation of gender specialists from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is actively participating in the 2nd Micronesian Ministers for Women Conference 2024 in Nauru this week. The conference, held from 16-18 April, brings together key decision-makers to identify priorities for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the sub-region. Delegations from FSM, Guam, Kiribati, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the host country, Nauru, are collaborating to discuss subregional priorities and prepare for the upcoming Triennial Conference of Pacific Women. The event is organized by the Nauru Government’s Department of Women’s and Social Development Division (WASDA) in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Community (SPC), with support from the Australian Government.

Courtesy Visit: Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs

Ambassador Mylene J. Garcia-Albano from the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Tokyo, Japan, paid a courtesy visit to the Acting Secretary of FSM DHSA, Mr. Scott Mori. Discussions focused on critical healthcare topics, including current collaboration between FSM DHSA and Philippines Department of Health to bring medical specialty teams to FSM, the shortage of healthcare professionals, medical referrals to the Philippines, potential collaborations with Philippines universities for educational opportunities in the medical fields for FSM students and trainings for current health staff, recruitment opportunities for medical staff from the Philippines, and future health services in the FSM.

The meeting ended on a positive note with a suggestion for the ambassador to visit Nan Madol while on Pohnpei, highlighting the cultural and historical significance of the site. This courtesy visit underscores the ongoing partnership between the Philippines and FSM in advancing healthcare initiatives.

Sweden Ambassador Courtesy Visit to the Secretary of FSM DHSA

His excellency Ambassador Pereric Högberg of the Sweden embassy in Japan, paid a courtesy visit to the Honorable Mr. Marcus Samo, Secretary of FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA). The meeting centered on medical training and schools, access to medicines (including generics) and pharmaceutical providers, greening of healthcare facilities, food and nutrition, public health awareness, and health promotion. Additionally, discussions covered the pandemic experience in FSM where the good Ambassador congratulated the FSM for its success, risk communications, and population dynamics. The meeting concluded with mutual interest in further discussions on these topics in the future, reflecting the ongoing collaboration between Sweden and FSM in advancing healthcare and addressing critical health issues.

MedPharm & Mercatus Capital Courtesy Visit to the Secretary of FSM DHSA

During a courtesy visit on February 21, 2024, MedPharm and Mercatus Capital representatives presented a proposal to the Honorable Mr. Marcus Samo, Secretary of the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA), with the aim of enhancing healthcare services in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The proposal introduces cutting-edge medical technologies, including the PICA Whole Body MRI system and innovative solutions such as remote support services and cloud-based teleradiology platform with AI assistance. The meeting concluded with both parties committed to address FSM’s healthcare needs.

Ambassador of Brazil Embassy in Manila, Philippines, paid a courtesy visit to the Secretary of FSM DHSA


Left to Right: First Secretary Gerson Gimenes, His Excellency Gilberto Fonseca Guimaraes de Moura, Honorable Secretary Marcus Samo, and Executive Secretary Sylveria Waltu

Ambassador-designate of the Federative Republic of Brazil, His Excellency Gilberto Fonseca Guimaraes de Moura and First Secretary Mr. Gerson Cruz Gimenes of the Embassy of Brazil in Manila, Philippines paid a courtesy visit to the Honorable Secretary of Health and Social Affairs, Mr. Marcus Samo. His Excellency shared with the Honorable Secretary and staff of a recent cooperation proposal from the Government of Brazil to the Federated States of Micronesia along with the proposal components that are relevant to health and social affairs noting the similarities in environmental and health settings of the two nations. The discussion around the cooperation proposal looks to expand the current scope under health and social affairs into accessing Brazil’s medical training programs, access to generic medicine, vaccine donation, sports development, and working support systems that can be replicated in the FSM. The courtesy call ended on a promising note of further cooperation and alignment with the Government of Brazil health services through the embassy to further the discussion on health collaboration. 

Strengthening Health Services Collaboration: Virtual Meeting Between FSM DHSA and Republic of the Philippines Department of Health

Secretary Marcus Samo, Assistant Secretary Moses Pretrick and Chuuk State health leadership Chuuk Health Services Director Dr. Bosco Buliche, Chuuk Health Chief of Staff Dr. Yoster Yichiro, and Chuck Health OBGYN Dr. Rita Akapito held a virtual meeting with the Republic of Philippines Department of Health representatives. The meeting was a start of strengthening health services coordination and collaboration amongst the two countries where FSM will receive a medical mission team in Chuuk, FSM to support and augment current health capabilities of the State. FSM DHSA is working closely with Chuuk State Health Services to coordinate, support and ensure that this great opportunity is fully utilized. The department hopes that this is just the start of greater collaboration opportunities to come and looks forward to receiving the medical team.

Ambassador of India Courtesy Visit to Secretary of FSM DHSA

Ambassador Shri Shambhu S. Kumaran, representing the India Embassy in India, paid a courtesy visit to the Honorable Mr. Marcus Samo, Secretary of the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSA). The meeting centered around several key topics aimed at enhancing healthcare services in FSM. Discussions included pharmaceutical providers, diagnostics, and dialysis services, as well as the establishment of a sea ambulance system and the referral of patients to India for specialized care.

The meeting concluded on a positive note with both parties expressing optimism about the potential collaboration in these areas. There is a shared hope for further discussions and exploration of these topics in the future, indicating a promising avenue for advancing healthcare cooperation between India and FSM.