Pesticide Poisoning: Syngenta launches doctors’ training, mobile health clinic

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Oct 2017 09:04:24


Staff Reporter,

Facing criticism from various quarters, the pesticide companies are now coming up with various responses to the pesticide poisoning deaths and hospitalisations of farmers in Yavatmal district. One of the major global companies in pesticides business, Syngenta, has launched doctors’ training as well as mobile health clinic in Yavatmal district.

According to Syngenta, its teams are conducting stewardship programmes, doctor training programmes, and providing mobile health clinic facility in Yavatmal and adjoining villages. It plans to cover over 25,000 farmer families through mobile health clinics in next several months. Besides, it is supporting the State Government’s safety initiative by distributing 10,000 personal protective equipment kits for spray-men in collaboration with the local Panchayat bodies. Already, it has provided 500 kits and plans to distribute 500 more after Diwali, and remaining 9,000 by the end of October.

Syngenta has claimed that its popular pesticide brand ‘Polo’ is not responsible for what has happened in Yavatmal district. According to the company, ‘Polo’ has been used on an average on 6 lakh hectares every year on various crops including cotton, ‘without any reported news of causalties’. “This reflects that there may have been other reasons which may have led to these unfortunate incidents,” adds a press release issued by the company.

There are more than 30 technical indigenous manufacturers, and more than 200 formulation registrants of the same product are sold. ‘Polo’ is popular among farmers but has a share of only 20 per cent, leaving the balance space to all other generic brands.
Referring to the conclusions of ‘various fact finding teams’, Syngenta has listed various ‘other reasons’ as ‘unusual’ height of Bt Cotton crop this time, ‘neglect’ of safety precautions like use of personal protective equipment kits like mask/gloves/eye-goggles the spray drift due to wind direction coming in direct contact with the eyes and body of the spray-men, farmers using a concoction of various pesticides to combat the severe pest pressure.

Expressing ‘deep concern’ over the tragic loss of farmers’ lives and the incidences of hospitalisation of farm workers caused by pesticides exposure in the region, Syngenta has stated that it conducted two doctor training programmes for Taluka Medical Officers in Yavatmal. Dr V V Pillay, Head, Toxicology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, conducted the programme. The training was conducted at Pandharkawda and Wani tehsils. In all, 18 doctors from the Government and private hospitals attended the programme at Pandharkawda whereas 19 attended the programme in Wani. Sub-Divisional Officer, Tehsildar, Deputy Tehsildar, and District Health officials also underwent the training.

The programme focused on imparting training to doctors on principles of recognition and treatment of pesticide poisoning, general principles on stabilisation of a poisoned patient and dealing with basic treatment of other poisoning cases.

The company has collaborated with Wockhardt Foundation to run a mobile health van in the region to undertake regular check-ups and awareness programmes. The van will have an MBBS doctor, a pharmacist, community mobiliser, and a driver, and shall be operational in and around Yavatmal district for a year. The mobile health clinics will cover more than 25,000 farm workers and their families in one year, stated Dr K C Ravi, Vice-President, Commercial Acceptance & Public Policy, Syngenta South Asia.