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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health
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The Birth of a Female Child

The birth of female children continues to be perceived as a burden, particularly in rural India. Gender discrimination against girls often begins at birth and is widespread (Singh et al. 2009). Culturally, there is a deep-rooted preference for sons (Pande and Astone 2007) mainly because sons can inherit their father’s property and land and sons are considered as a source of economic security (Hoffman 1988). The girls are considered to be a financial burden since they require dowry payment. This social attitude is the basis of gender discrimination that leads to the neglect and death of millions of girl children through lack of medical care, improper nutrition, infanticide and sex-selective abortions (Arnold et al. 2002). The mothers who gave birth to girls are also subjected to social humiliation and psychological abuse and maltreatment by their husbands and in-laws.

Prevention Strategy

In view of the enormity of morbidity and mortality related with DSH/sui- cide, especially with deliberate pesticide poisoning, suicide prevention should be a major focus of public health in the Sundarbans region and in similar settings (Vijayakumar 2007; Phillips 2004). Given the complexity of factors involved in suicide, it is likely that no single prevention strategy will combat this critical problem. A comprehensive and integrated joint effort involving many sectors—the individual, family, agrochemical industry, community, agricultural and health care system, media—is needed (Desapriya et al. 2004). An intersectoral global public health initiative is proposed by

Bertolote and colleagues inclusive of pesticide regulation, epidemiological surveillance, medical management of poisoning, training on safe use of pesticide and development of community educative programmes to minimise risk of intentional or unintentional pesticide poisoning (Bertolote et al. 2006). Community-based DSH/suicide prevention (Motohashi et al. 2004) is an approach being recommended by experts in the field with a detailed focus on psychosocial stressors (Phillips et al. 2002; McElroy 2004) and pesticide education programmes (Roberts et al. 2003).

 
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