Fighting a forgotten disease in Bangladesh

NATACHA BUHLER/MSF

Maharashtra

Although there is a diphtheria vaccine, the Rohingya population’s lack of access to healthcare in Myanmar meant they weren’t adequately protected against the disease. Diphtheria is highly contagious, and the crowded living conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh made Rohingyas even more vulnerable.

I had never seen diphtheria in my life. It was no different for my colleagues, as the last major outbreak was in Russia in the 1990s though a diphtheria outbreak was also re-emerging in Yemen around the same time. Literature was limited. The world had almost forgotten about diphtheria.



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