Benguet suicides exceed WHO stats

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Benguet suicide cases have exceeded the statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO) mortality rates.

A study done by Phoebe Ullalim-Pasiwen shows suicide cases in Kibungan, Buguias and Atok towns exceed the global annual mortality rate set by the WHO from the years 1999 to 2009.

Pasiwen, a member of the International Academy of Suicide Research (IASR), is one of five researchers and private medical practitioners who presented their studies at the Benguet State University's suicide forum Tuesday afternoon at the Gladiola Center.

The forum aimed to put the incidence of suicide in the province to the forefront, breaking taboos, which hide it under the stigma of shame and disgrace.

Pasiwen's study dubbed as "Prevalence of Suicide Cases in the Three Farming Municipalities along the Mountain Trail Area in the Province of Benguet," shows a total of 64 suicide deaths from the three areas from 1999-2009.

Data show the actual suicide rate of the three identified municipalities is 35.17 per 100,000 populations in the span of 11 years exceeding global annual mortality rate of 14.5 per 100,000 population set by the WHO.

The Pasiwen study also shows a contrast in the suicide death rate for the entire country as reported to the WHO in 1993 showing a 4.2 per 100,000 population implying suicide cases in our country are unreported and excluded in the mortality database.

For Kibungan there is a rate of 20.08 suicides per 100,000 population, second is Buguias with a 9.52 rate per 100,000 population and last is Atok with a 5.57 rate per 100,000 population.

Pasiwen concluded in the study the predominance of suicide in Kibungan, specifically to barangay Madaymen as the highest retrieved suicide cases.

The Buguias and Atok data have suicide cases distributed to its adjacent barangays based on the average population from 1999-2009.

Suicide victims belonged to 15-24 age group, predominantly male. Suicide incidence tends to increase with age. The three farming municipalities of Benguet distorted the pattern revealing completed suicide among men at a significantly higher rate than adults.

From the 64 suicide victims Pasiwen noted 76.56 percent poisoned themselves with the use of pesticides and only 17.19 percent intentionally harmed themselves through hanging.

Pasiwen in the study concluded the veracity of WHO findings pesticide ingestion is one of the leading suicide method in developing countries.
The study also implies the high rate of suicide in three municipalities especially in Kibungan is related to the easy accessibility of highly lethal methods for suicide such as pesticide.

Pasiwen recommends restricting the availability of pesticides either directly or indirectly through restricting the import and use of pesticides and through ensuring that supplies are kept in a secure facility in each geographical locality.

Likewise the improvement of public education regarding the damage of pesticide poisoning and the safekeeping of pesticide through media campaigns, clear labeling of product containers.

The study also encourages manufacturers to improve the safety of their products and company responsibility for the safe use of pesticide should extend for the entire life cycle of their use.

The Pasiwen study recommends the development of broad-based support for suicide prevention through promoting awareness that suicide is a public health problem that is preventable, developing and implementing suicide prevention programs through development and promotion of effective clinical and professional practices.

Pasiwen also stressed the importance of promotion and support to suicide researches including the improvement of surveillance and reporting system of suicide cases in hospitals, municipal and barangay health units.
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