The Hexavalent Vaccine, a six-in-one vaccine protecting babies against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B was launched on 09 January 2017 at Dr M. Hyderkhan Mediclinic in Plaine Verte, Mauritius, in the presence of the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus, Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius and other eminent staff of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life.
This new vaccine provides many advantages including fewer injections to babies (4 injections instead of 10) and more protection against six deathful diseases. Being a more compliantvaccine, the risk of side effects like fever and redness is also reduced. Mauritius becomes the second country in Africa to freely offer this new vaccination to babies, after South Africa.
Dr A. Husnoo, the Minister of Health and Quality of Life underlined the importance of vaccination as a key effective health care intervention to protect children and prevent child mortality. He pointed out that the introduction of the vaccine follows the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) for combination vaccines for childhood immunization. It is to be noted that a dose of the Hexavalent Vaccine, available free of charge in all health centres, is costing the Government of Mauritius around 3,000 Mauritian Rupees.
According to WHO, around 12 millions of babies aged less than one year, that is one out of ten babies were not vaccinated in 2016. The Hexavalent vaccine can prevent the death of some 2 to 3 millions of children suffering from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and rubella in the world.
The Health Minister highlighted the fact that Mauritius started its vaccination programme before 1980’s but the National Expanded Programme of Immunisation was fully established in 1980 according the norms set by the WHO.
In Mauritius, over 97% of the children receive vaccines recommended by WHO. The Hexavalent Vaccine is now included in National Expanded Programme of Immunisation of the country. An appeal was made by the Health Minister to the population to take full advantage of this news vaccine in order to better protection our babies. The Health Minister also announced that a neonatal intensive care unit will soon be operational at the Dr Abdool Gaffoor Jeetoo Hospital in Port Louis, in view of improving neonatal care in Mauritius.