NEWS

Ban Paraquat, Doctors Say

Mental health activists are calling for a ban on Pa­raquat and other harm­ful chemicals in Fiji, which they believe are commonly used by people who are trying to commit suicide.
21 Sep 2018 11:55
Ban Paraquat, Doctors Say

Mental health activists are calling for a ban on Pa­raquat and other harm­ful chemicals in Fiji, which they believe are commonly used by people who are trying to commit suicide.

Paraquat has been banned in 32 countries.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Or­dille Chang said there is an urgent need to ban the use of this weedi­cide. She said it is openly sold in shops and people are not even asked what reason they were buy­ing it for.

“For example, a couple of years ago, young high school boys went to buy Paraquat from local shops in suits and there were no ques­tions why they getting Paraquat because obviously, they did not look like farmers,” she said.

“In order to decrease the rate of suicide, we need to restrict access to means like Paraquat.”

She said suicide was preventable if we all work together.

Former Minister for Health and Medical Services, Neil Sharma shared his personal encounter with suicide and said he wants a change.

“I lost my wife through suicide and she bought a bottle of Para­quat for $8.50 only without being asked anything,” he said.

“That was the end of a lot of things and I have been a doctor for 42 years and I understand sympa­thy and being compassionate, but I never understood what empathy meant until I lost my wife.

“My son last year had double trag­edy because he lost his first child a few hours after birth and after six months he lost his mother,” he said.

Dr Sharma is pleading with those thinking of committing suicide to think about other people around them.

“Seek professional assistance and support by the community and, of course, you must think otherwise because you are going to leave a family who is going to be in grief for the rest of their lives.”

He also said since Paraquat was banned in Samoa, they had seen the suicide rate drop.

“We need a strong enforcement to be able to get rid of Paraquat from our market,” he said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: swashna.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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