Here we will publish updates about our work.
Plans for the future: We plan to start data collection in Nepal in May at the hospitals for which we have ethics and administrative approvals. We are currently working with our researchers and the Nepali principal investigator to prepare for data collection. Data collection will start in India when we obtain approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research.
India: We have successfully submitted the application for the Indian Council of Medical Research. While the EHA project coordinator Bangkim visits sites in northern India, to talk with medical staff and other stakeholders about our project and the process of data collection, the rest of us are working hard to reach out to potential collaborators in India.
Nepal: Our researchers have piloted data collection! These data will be audited by our Nepalese colleagues and used to revise the processes for data collection. Official data collection starts soon!
India: We received institutional ethics approvals from both of our Centres! The Christian Medical College, Vellore, will supervise data collection from 12 hospital sites in southern India while the Emmanuel Hospital Association will supervise data collection in 8 hospital sites in Northern India. We now need administrative permission for the overall project from the Indian Council of Medical Research.
We have recruited a project coordinator at the Emmanuel Hospital Association to start preparing the sites for data collection. Mr Chingsubam Bangkim is an experienced project manager with many years of experience in public health projects and of working with vulnerable communities.
We have started to collect data on pesticide regulation in the Indian States.
Nepal: Our Sri Lankan colleague Dr Manjula Weerasinghe conducted a training session for our Nepalese researchers in Kathmandu. During the training, the researchers learned about the problem of pesticide suicides, the experience of reducing high suicide rates through pesticide regulation in Sri Lanka and other countries, and the CPSP's goals in Nepal. They also learned how to approach institutions to start data collection, the process of data collection itself, and the ways to increase the knowledge of medical professionals on the subject.
In April, Leah visited Sri Lanka to liaise with the office of Sri Lanka's Pesticide Registrar, meet with an expert from the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, and finalise work plans with Dr Weerasinghe.
Nepal: On March 16, the Centre for Pesticide Suicide Prevention together with its partner Nepal Public Health Foundation (NPHF) conducted a workshop for medical staff of participating hospitals and interested stakeholders in Kathmandu. We were privileged to have expertise from distinguished guests workshop chair Dr Mahesh Kumar Maskey, Dr Shri Krishna Giri, and Prof. Dr Bhupendra Kumar Basnet (Director of Bir Hospital). Welcome remarks were delivered by Dr Lochana Shrestha. The Centre's Director Prof. Michael Eddleston talked about the toxicological aspects of pesticide poisoning and on the treatment procedures. Dr Dilli Ram Sharma, Director General from the Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agricultural Development presented the latest updates on pesticide regulation in Nepal. SSP Basanta Kumar Lama from Nepal police presented police data on suicides. The outcome of the workshop was a renewed commitment of the participants to tackling the problem of pesticide suicides in Nepal.
India: With the support of the University of Edinburgh legal team, we drafted and signed collaboration agreements with both partners in India (Christian Medical College Vellore and Emmanuel Hospital Association, New Delhi).
Our prior preparatory work:
In order to start a research project, we needed to apply for ethics permission to get access to the data from the institution and an administrative permission from the government to collect data.
In late March we received ethics approval from the Nepal Health Research Council for the project in Nepal. We have also received administrative approval from all but two hospitals that we will be collecting data. In India, we have received individual hospital agreements in the majority of 22 project hospitals.
A rule change in December 2017 now means that we have to seek further approval from the Indian Council of Medical Research after we have obtained all other ethics approvals. This is likely to delay the collection of data by about three months in India.