There is a substantial drop in pesticide inhalation-related hospitalisations in Yavatmal district, government figures indicate. According to data given by Yavatmal Resident Deputy Collector Narendra Fulzele, 25 patients were admitted in the Yavatmal Government Medical College (GMC) from July 1. Of them, 14 have been discharged after treatment and 11 are currently undergoing treatment.
According to civil surgeon Tarangtushar Ware, there were admissions in other government hospitals in rural parts too. “But many of them have got referred to GMC and most of them were admitted for a few hours as a measure of precaution after complaints similar to the symptoms of contact poisoning were received. Most were discharged on the same day.”
She said segregated data of such patients hadn’t yet been tabulated. Collector Rajesh Deshmukh said, “We are not taking any chances and have been immediately providing treatment to those showing symptoms.”
Last year, the district had witnessed passive pesticide inhalation illnesses on epidimial scale. In 2016, the district had seen 402 admissions and 16 deaths while in 2017, there were 1,075 admissions and 22 deaths between January and October. Over 800 of these were between July and October, when farmers undertake spraying.
Other districts like Amravati, Wardha, Washim, Buldana and Akola too had witnessed substantial hospitalisation but had accounted for only 12 deaths. “This year, there are no reports of contact poisoning in districts besides Yavatmal,” said Joint Director of Agriculture, Amravati division, Subhash Nagare.
As reported earlier by The Indian Express, the government had rolled out several measures this year for curbing a possible outbreak of contact poisoning related illnesses in the region. The Yavatmal Collector had issued detailed instructions for Revenue, Health and Agriculture Departments’ officials for an extensive programme from August 2 to 4.
It included awareness drive in all designated villages, training to persons engaged in spraying, preparation of list of such persons and their health check-up, repetition of checks every ten days, appointing co-ordinators for each village, field visits by all tahsil-level officials of the three departments to check the implementation of the drive, making police patil responsible to report every affected persons case in the village to the officials concerned, reporting of every hospitalisation to the Resident Deputy Collector, inspection of agri-input shops, etc.
The Collector himself had travelled in the field and had even demonstrated correct way of spreading to farmers. “We are getting the lists of those who were engaged in spraying last year. We will do their complete medical check-up and advise them if they are fit to undertake the work,” Ware said.
According to Nagare, second spraying on cotton is on. “Farmers do about seven sprayings on cotton in the season,” he said.