Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-120

Pesticide poisoning in nonfatal, deliberate self-harm: A public health issue

Institute of Psychiatry, 7 D. L. Khan Road, Kolkata - 700 025, India

Correspondence Address:
A N Chowdhary
HA 244, Sector III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata - 700 097
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.33259

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Background: Nonfatal, deliberate self-harm (DSH), particularly with pesticides, is a major public health problem in many developing countries of the world. Agriculture is the primary occupation of most people living in the Sundarban region in West Bengal, India. Pesticides are extensively used in agriculture and these agents are most frequently used in DSH. Aim: This study sought to identify the nature of methods and agents used in nonfatal DSH attempts in the Sundarban area under South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Materials and Methods: Detailed demographic and clinical data on DSH cases of 13 Block Primary Health Centres (BPHCs') admission registers were analysed. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted with the Panchayat Samithy of each block to elicit their perception about the problem of pesticide-related DSH or suicide in the region. Results: Five thousand, one hundred and seventy-eight (1,887 male and 3,291 female) subjects were admitted in the BPHCs during the study period from 1999 to 2001. Organophosphorous pesticide poisoning was found to be the most common method (85.1%) in DSH. This emphasizes the importance of developing an urgent poisoning prevention program with a special focus on improving clinical services as well as initiating farmers' education programs focusing on safe pesticide practices at the primary care level.



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