By Wilfred Okot
Police in Northern region is worried over the increasing cases of suicide deaths that hit them since October 2019.
While addressing journalists at the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC), Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Aswa River Region Police spokesperson said that police registered 39 suicide cases were reported, 24 of these lost their lives while 15 attempted to commit suicide between October 16 2019 and January 24 2020.
“It is true many are committing suicide in fear of being prosecuted after committing an offense, effects of domestic violence, drug abuse such as alcohol, opium, Land wrangles, stigma from incurable diseases and above all fearing to pay debts or poverty as a results they think there is no option in life other than death,” he said.
Okema said that in four months, Gulu was the leading district with 14 cases, where seven were attempted suicide, followed by Pader with 5 cases with three attempts and two cases in Kitgum with one attempt.
Omoro registered four cases, with no attempt, four in Nwoya district with three attempts; Amuru had one, with no attempt and in Lamwo one case with one attempted suicide.
Out of all northern districts, only one district (Agago) had not reported any case between this period.
Okema urged the media and various stakeholders, including leaders at all capacity to reduce such trends in community because it cannot be left for Police only.
Robert Larubi, the Uganda Mental Health Spokesperson blamed the rampant deaths by suicide on poverty especially with the current economic situation in the region.
According to World Health Organization, about 800,000 suicide deaths are recorded, which translates into one death after every 40 seconds.
WHO adds that suicide is rated as the second leading cause of death globally among young people who are aged between 15 and 29, with 79 percent coming from low and middle-income countries like; Uganda.
In 2018, WHO estimated that Uganda was in the 68th position in terms of suicide prevalence at 9.9 percent
Compared to HIV/AIDS whose prevalence is 6.2 percent, suicide prevalence is quite higher.