Nepal is a country that is heavily dependent on agriculture. Pesticides are widely used for pest control and are easily accessible within communities.
In 2018–19, Nepal recorded 5754 suicides – a high number for a relatively small country. Over 24% of these suicides were by poisoning, most by ingestion of highly concentrated agricultural pesticides. There are no nationwide data on pesticide poisoning cases and deaths, limiting the possibility of analysis. Record-keeping at hospitals is also under-resourced.
CPSP has been working in Nepal since 2017.
Our initial project (HOPE GRID) aimed to identify the pesticides responsible for the majority of pesticide suicides in Nepal, in collaboration with Dr Rakesh Ghimire, Dr Dilli Ram Sharma and the Nepal Public Health Foundation.
Between 2017 and 2019, we collected data for pesticide poisoned patients presenting to 10 hospitals in Nepal, information on the pesticides for sale in local shops, and data from the police and toxicology labs’ post-mortem records for patients who died from pesticide poisoning.
In 2019, after the results of the study were presented to the authorities, Nepal banned eight pesticides. The ban included dichlorvos and the tablet form of aluminium phosphide, which were identified as causing most harm to health by our study.
In 2021, CPSP started a study monitoring the impact of the ban on agriculture and suicide rates.