Preventing pesticide self-harm though vender training in North Central Province

Everyday, five cases of pesticide self-harm are admitted to hospitals in North Central Province. Of these, one person buy it directly from a pesticide shop, for the purpose of self harm. Training of venders on identification of suspisious buyers will be able to prevent at least 20% of self-harm incidence. This is achievable, because 70% of these people do this due to impulsive behaviors.

As clearly shown in the doctoral research work of Dr.Manjula Weerasinghe, incidence of pesticide self-harm could be prevented through addressing two specific risk factors; alcohol and farmer identification. If the venders are paying attention, on these two key risk factors prevention of pesticide self-harm is feasible.

DoCM, in collaboration of South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration (SACTRC), Bristol University, Edinburgh University and several other partners launched the largest vender training based self-harm prevention trial reported in medical literature. The first training session was held in the department of agriculture with the participation of Pesticide Regisrar, provincial, regional and Mahaweli agricultural department officials, investigators of the vender study and the venders

The stepped wedge cluster randomised trial will involve training of venders from more than 500 pesticide shops. The training programme has already gain attention from the national level with an offer to incorporate the training to national pesticide vender training programme. Capturing of self-harm data will be done through a specific self-harm surveillance programme operating in 56 hospitals within the province.

While generating evidence for pesticide self-harm prevention, the project will have immediate benefits to the people living in NCP area with averting deaths due to pesticide.

This Randomized Control Trial is funded by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) 2018 Focus Grant led by Michael Eddleston, BM, Sc.D., University of Edinburgh (UK).

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Department of Community Medicine