Acute pesticide poisoning amongst adolescent girls and women in northern Tanzania

Abstract Background Acute pesticide poisoning (APP) is reported to affect community health worldwide but its burden in Tanzania is unknown particularly in women. This study examines APP involving adult females and adolescent girls 10 to 19 years in 3 regions of Tanzania which are famous for coffee and vegetable production. Methods Over the period of 12 months, health facility-based surveillance for cases of APP was implemented in 10 Tanzanian healthcare facilities in 2006. Results The study identified 108 APP cases of whom 31 (28.7%) occurred amongst adolescent girls. Suicide was the leading poisoning circumstances (60.2%) and the most vulnerable women were 20–29 years old who comprised 38.4% of all cases with suicide as circumstance. Organophosphates (OPs), zinc phosphide, paraquat and endosulfan were common amongst known reported poisoning agents. The annual APP incidence, mortality and Case Fatality Rate for women were 5.1/100,000, 0.2/100,000 and 3.7/100, respectively. Conclusion APP amongst women in Tanzania is common and this call for diverse preventive interventions to reduce poisoning incidents.