23 December 2022, New Delhi: Poisoning is a significant global public health hazard. The incidence of poisoning in India is among the highest in the world. It is estimated that more than 50,000 people die every year from toxic exposure. Poisoning happens due to several reasons including snakebites, and occupational hazards at workplaces such as agriculture. According to a recent study, India accounts for almost 80% of global snakebite deaths. In such situations, it is critical that local PHCs and Doctors are equipped and trained to deal with such toxic emergencies.
UPL, one of the Global Agriculture industry leaders, in association with AIIMS, Hyderabad, Nagpur, and Rajkot along with local Associations of Physicians had organized symposiums to train doctors on Toxicology emergency management. The symposium themed ‘Occupational Health- Agriculture, aimed at spreading awareness among medical healthcare professionals about occupational health-related hazards in agriculture. It further intended to directly communicate the message to the medical fraternity, especially doctors from primary healthcare centers and district medical hospitals, about the right protocol of diagnosis and treatment whenever required. Over 1200 doctors have been trained so far through these symposiums.
Recently, the symposium was held in association with PDU Medical College, Rajkot, and the Association of Physicians of India, with the theme of ‘Occupational Health- Agriculture’.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr. H C Kyada, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, PDU Medical College, Rajkot said, “Doctors at the Primary level need to differentiate snake bites and other exposures including pesticides for the adoption of the required treatment protocol. The most common poisonous cases are cobra bites, snake bites, ecstasy, datura, bhang, etc. overdose. Different exposures need to be identified for adopting specific treatment protocols. A collaborative effort, in association with a prestigious institution like AIIMS, along with a trained workforce of doctors and health professionals, will certainly go a long way to bring best practices to the medical fraternity, especially working in rural areas.”
Sagar Kaushik, President, of Global Corporate and Industry Affairs, UPL said, “The crop protection industry has introduced environment-friendly crop protection products, including biologicals for pest control and plant health. Also, the expansion of Adarsh Farm Services (AFS) with mechanized machines by UPL has substantially reduced spraying exposure, for spraying workers and farmers, to almost zero levels in the last five to six years. UPL will organize such symposiums nationwide to bring awareness for the safe use of agrochemicals with support from its state medical fraternity”
Dr. Tejas Prajapati, Clinical Medical Toxicologist, at LG Hospital Ahmedabad said, “The lack of awareness on best practices and exposure to pesticide sprays if undeterred, will continue to threaten crop productivity, farmers’ safety/health, environment protection, and even export markets for some niche crops. Toxicology is still a neglected part of the Medical curriculum and many doctors don’t have much idea on how they can treat patients of Toxic emergency exposure and using antidotes with the right doses at the right time.”
The symposium addressed key issues and approaches to toxicology emergencies at PHC and tertiary care hospitals, Pesticides, and their medical management, Preventive aspects of toxic emergencies, and Initiative from UPL for a safe and preventive approach to pesticide use, especially with their Adarsh Farm Services with 3000 mechanized Spraying Machines for the farmers, Pesticide regulations in India, Medico-legal aspects of toxic emergencies and more.
Shri Arun Mahesh Babu M.S., IAS Collector, and District Magistrate, Rajkot, and The Child and welfare cabinet minister, Rajkot were present along with the expert faculties including Medical Toxicologist, Critical Care Specialist, Physicians, Pesticide Regulators, Medicolegal Expert, Management Expert and more, during Rajkot seminar and they also extended their support and appreciate efforts to make agriculture and health to come on a single platform to understand occupational health in Agriculture.
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