Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 262-266

Pesticide poisoning in non-fatal deliberate self-harm: A public health issue: Study from Sundarban delta, India

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

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

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.37666

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Background: Non-fatal 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 aimed to identify the nature of methods and agents used in non-fatal 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 analyzed. One Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with the Panchayat Samiti of each block (totally 13 FDGs) was conducted to elicit the Samiti members' perception about the problem of pesticide-related DSH or suicide in the region. Results: A total of 5,178 (1,887 male and 3,291 female) subjects were admitted at 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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