Diphtheria is an infectious bacterial disease that affects the throat and upper airways, and produces a toxin that affects the other organs. As per the World Health Organisation, the disease can be fatal in 5-10% of the cases.
In the last four months, over 60 children have died of diphtheria in Delhi’s Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital. The Indian Express tracked down their families to understand what makes children vulnerable to a disease that can be prevented by vaccination.
“The North corporation is under acute financial crunch. Not many people want to work in corporation hospitals where the salary remains delayed for months, especially at a time when the private sector is so lucrative,” said a North body official.
150 vials of the diphtheria antitoxin were kept ready since the last 15 days, but no one from Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital came to collect them, despite intimation, says the director of the Central Research Institute (CRI), Kasauli.