The Hexavalent Vaccine which provides immunity against six important preventable childhood diseases with a single injection at each visit is being introduced in the National Expanded Programme of Immunisation.
The six-in-one vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B will be administered to babies in a 6-, 10-, 14-week schedule along with the pneumococcal vaccine. The advantage of the Hexavalent Vaccine is that it reduces the number of injections needed by ensuring protection against more diseases with fewer injections, injected separately. A dose of the Hexavalent Vaccine costs around Rs 3,000.
The launching of the vaccine was held at Dr Mahmoodkhan Hyderkhan Mediclinic in Plaine Verte in the presence of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, and the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus on Tuesday. In his address, the Health Minister underscored the importance of vaccination as a key effective health care intervention to protect children and prevent child mortality. The introduction of the vaccine follows the recommendation of the World Health Organisation for combination vaccines for childhood immunization, he said.
Speaking on vaccination coverage in Mauritius, Dr Husnoo stated that over 97% of the children population receive recommended vaccines. He listed out the initiatives taken by the Ministry to uphold this situation, namely through continuous awareness campaigns for pregnant women and mothers, and provision of vaccines free of charge. Dr Husnoo urged the population to take full advantage of the Influenza Vaccination, which will be available during the upcoming campaign in March and April.
The Minister moreover seized the opportunity to elaborate on the main projects in the pipeline for 2018. They include the coming into operation of the first intensive care unit for children and the inauguration of a neonatal intensive care unit at Dr Abdool Gaffoor Jeetoo Hospital; ongoing training for nurses and doctors; and the opening of a health centre in St François in Port Louis.