Chitral suicides: Health directorate forms investigation committee

'Not even a single psychiatrist is available at government health facilities', says health official

Umer Farooq August 31, 2018
K-P Health Directorate formed a committee to address the alarming suicide rates. PHOTO: REUTERS

PESHAWAR: With the number of suicides in Chitral — particularly amongst females — continuing to mount, the provincial health directorate has taken notice, a team has been constituted to probe the matter.

A notification issued by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health directorate stated that the committee will probe the reasons and factors behind the rising number of suicide cases in Chitral.

Committee formed over Chitral suicides in K-P

The notification was issued after reports emerged that a large number of youngsters, mostly female, had attempted suicide in the restive, mountainous valley. Most of those who had attempted suicide had done so after results of the intermediate examinations were announced. Family members say their loved ones attempted suicide after scoring low marks in the exams.

The committee includes District Health Information System (DHIS) Administration Director Dr Azmatullah as the chief with district health officers and DHIS psycho-social programme deputy director as its members.

“Consequent upon several suicidal cases in Chitral, the following committee of the following officers is hereby constituted to see the main factors involved and psychotherapy of other with tendency of suicide attempts,” the official notification issued from office of the K-P director general health services read.

On the other hand, officials from the health department stated that the district health offices have repeatedly informed officials in the provincial capital that there was a dire need for posting psychiatrists in the district.

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“Not even a single psychiatrist is available at government health facilities. Yes there is one at the Agha Khan Hospital, but that is a private health facility,” said a health official who had served in Chitral.

He stated that there have been dozens of cases of suicides across the district every month and recently [in August], eight people took their lives, including five students. He added that the students had attempted suicide after failing to secure higher marks in the intermediate examinations but the four cases were yet to be probed.

“The cases we have gone through were either related to education or domestic problems and this is the reason why we have added an expert on psycho-social programmes,” K-P Health Services Director General Dr Ayub Ros told The Express Tribune.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2018.


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