|▲ Korea Pest Control Association / President Kim Byung-woo
(PowerKorea) While the pandemic impact is still continuing after a year, tired people seem to relax in daily quarantine and disinfection. This is added by high expectations for vaccines and their effect but number of the infected is rather increasing or lingering around worrying level depending on countries. South Korean government fears possible 4th round widespread as the number does not seem to recede and therefore ‘the less than 5 people gathering policy’ still continues. In this time of the prolonged pandemic, the role of disinfection agents is crucial alongside cooperation of medical staff and citizens. PowerKorea met Korea Pest Control Association president Kim Byung-woo.
The Korea Pest Control Association was established December 13, 1979 as a non-profitable organization. Its goal is to promote people’s awareness on importance of preventing infectious disease and to improve preventive technology. The association proactively engaged when MERS and ZIKA hit South Korea and its endeavor has been ongoing since the outbreak of COVID-19 early last year. The association formed an emergency team, applied its own disinfectant measures before the government officially brought up guidelines.
From February 11, 2020, the association started disinfecting 6 facilities where Koreans back from Wuhan, China, stayed after the outbreak, alongside 7 centers opened for the infected as well as public places where people gather in numbers. March 30, 2020, around the time which the mask shortage started to emerge as an urgent issue, the association was designated as an official public mask supplier.
In fact, before the pandemic hit the world, the diligence and excellent implementation of the association has been steadily recognized: it earned a title as a disinfection training institute in 1986 from the government, received a presidential citation in 1987, organized FAOPMA KOREA in 2005, took part in revision of the Infectious Disease Prevention Act in 2010, and co-held a quarantine symposium with Seoul Metropolitan City in 2016. The association has now grown to have around 10,000 member service providers as of 2021.
The association runs various training programs including certificate courses such as quarantine, insect pest management, disinfection work and harmful organism prevention. Seminars and events are organized on a regular basis and various collaborations are made in cooperation with the Korean Society of Applied Entomology, Korea University Research and Business Foundation, Eulji University Industry-Academic Cooperation, Center for Large and Small Business Cooperation, Korea Occupational Safety & Health Agency, Seoul Metropolitan City, Sangsaeng labor law firm, and Daejeon International Marketing Enterprise.
“It is regretful that disinfectors are excluded in the priority vaccination groups in South Korea. Disinfectors as as closely opened to possible infection as medical staff as we are the ones to be dispatched to disinfect the places where the infected stayed. Around 80,000 to 100,000 disinfectors are being engaged in this job according to our source; and it is important for them to work safely” says Korea Pest Control Association president Kim Byung-woo.
It is true, however, Kim says, that most disinfectors at the moment lack in knowledge and training. The law states that all disinfectors are required a certificate that they passed the 16 hour training course. In other words, though they have willing heart, many of them seem to think disinfection easy and simple while it is an area that requires professional knowledge and training. In this respect, Kim says, 16 hours of training is not enough to cover all the necessary knowledge and skills to provide professional disinfection services.
In an effort to improve this drawback of the current law, the association has asked data for infection disease prevention act in each member countries of the FAOPMA-Pest Summit. Also as part of this effort, the association is to push forward introducing disinfection national certificate system and related academic degree courses at university.
Kim says “the association will continue to build close cooperation with the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and the related government departments to create a better, safer and healthier society.”
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