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16 January 2018

Bristol Royal Infirmary emergency department registrar part of the UK response to Bangladesh diphtheria outbreak

A registrar from the emergency department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary is part of the UK's medical response to the diphtheria outbreak in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

Andy Lockyer

Andy Lockyer is one of more than 40 British doctors, nurses and firefighters from the UK's Emergency Medical Team (EMT) to be deployed in the region. It is the first time the EMT has been deployed by the Department for International Development since it was certified by the World Health Organisation in 2016.

Diphtheria is a fast spreading, extremely deadly infection, and there are a reported 160 new cases every day in Cox's Bazar, which is home to more than 600,000 Rohingya people. It causes extreme difficulty breathing, inflammation of the heart which can lead to heart failure, problems with the nervous system and fatal paralysis.

This is the first time Andy has been part of a humanitarian response like this, and his colleagues at home have been very supportive.

Andy said: "We are trying to treat a group of very unwell, vulnerable people with a very difficult treatment.

"We are really pleased that the number of new diphtheria cases is now stabilising.

"Rates going down is not evidence to show the outbreak was not as bad as feared, it actually shows how successful we were in getting it under control so quickly."

One of the people Andy has treated in four year old Anowar, a young boy who is the same age as Andy's daughter. Watch below to see him being treated and hear Andy's thoughts during the third day of their deployment. 



For information about the UK EMT's response to the diphtheria crisis, click here: