Diphtheria deaths in Delhi: No ambulance, blood bank, read shocking findings; Congress, AAP demand BJP mayor’s resignation

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Diphtheria deaths in Delhi: The threat of diphtheria disease continues to loom large in Delhi as five more deaths were reported at a civic hospital in north Delhi. The total number of casualties amount to 31 since September, according to reports. A political slugfest has erupted over the issue as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress sought the resignation of North Delhi Mayor Adesh Gupta. However, the issue is far more grievous in nature. The Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospita (MVID), which reported the death of 11 children due to diphtheria between September 6 and 19 at the hospital, does not have basic facilities X Ray, blood bank, ambulance and intensive care or high dependency, as per report prepared by a committee formed to probe lapses, the Indian Express reported. The report was prepared by senior doctors of RML Hospital, Kasturba Gandhi Hospital and senior officials of the corporation. The report was tabled in the House meeting of North corporation. Apart from these, treatments for Diphtheria like anti-arrhythmic drugs (used to treat abnormal heart rhythms), tracheotomy (an incision in the windpipe made to relieve an obstruction to breathing) were not available, the report points out. The hospital did not have any anti-diphtheria serum (ADS) since November 2017.The ADS was procured only after the intervention of the Union health ministry. North Delhi Mayor Adesh Gupta last week had suspended medical superintendent of the Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital for alleged lapses in connection with the deaths of these children at the facility. Gupta had set up a panel a few days ago to look into the death cases and sought a report. Meanwhile, The fresh deaths were reported at the Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital at Kingsway Camp, according to report. From September 6 onwards, there have been over 223 admissions at the municipal hospital, out of whom 30 have died, a senior official said. One more death earlier was reported at the Delhi government-run LNJP Hospital. The hospital, the largest such facility in Asia, is under the BJP-led North Delhi Municipal Corporation. According to information shared by the NDMC, a total of 61 deaths have taken place due to diphtheria this year. Last year, 102 deaths had taken due to diphtheria, 133 in 2,106 and 88 in 2015, according to the information shared by the NDMC authorities. Half of the total fatalities this year have taken place in September, which is the highest for this month since 2015. The number of patients admitted in September this year stands at 223, also the highest since 2015. The fatalities reported in previous years for September are – 22 (in 2015), 26 (2016), 20 (2017) and 30 (2018). The number of admissions in September in the previous years at Maharishi Valmiki Infectious Diseases Hospital, the nodal hospital for diphtheria treatment are – 88 (2015), 115 (2016), 99 (2017) and 223 (2018). The total number of admissions this year till date is 424, the NDMC said.