Parasuicide update No. 3

7 02 2011

By Paul Sonenthal

Lots of progress to report from the past few weeks. Recent meetings with leadership from the departments of Medicine and Emergency Medicine at Gaborone’s referral hospital as well as the chair of psychology at the University of Botswana have provided a lot of valuable information.

In fact, the first phase of the parasuicide project is approaching completion.

There is general consensus among staff working on the project, as well as stakeholders, that the next step needs to be a retrospective study of Emergency Department records in Gaborone. The goal will be to produce an estimate of the incidence of parasuicide in Gaborone.  This will serve several purposes: the data collected will help develop future hypothesis-driven research as well as provide an initial estimate of the degree of the problem, which will can be used to attract interest from government and potential stakeholders.

In my opinion, all that is left to do for this phase of the project is to open channels of communication with the emergency departments of the two private hospitals in Gaborone. Once this has been done, we will write up a report detailing our findings to date and outlining our vision for future directions. Ideally, this report will also serve as a first draft protocol for the retrospective Emergency Department chart review.

As this project moves forward, we feel that someone from Botswana is needed to provide leadership into the second phase.  A Motswana principal investigator would ensure continuity of leadership, build capacity as well as better understand the cultural context in which we are operating.  So far I have reached out to a number of potential principal investigators and will continue to do so.

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