Mauritius: Mauritius marks World Immunization Week

Port Louis, Mauritius (PANA) – Mauritian Health authorities on Monday marked the World Immunisation Week which is dedicated to promoting vaccination and providing an opportunity to strengthen immunisation services and systems, PANA learnt from official sources in the Mauritian capital.

Health and Quality of Life Minister Anil Gayan stated that the World Immunisation week is the time to raise public awareness about vaccination and its benefits, and stressed the importance of immunisation in saving lives while and encouraging families to vaccinate their children against the deadly diseases of infancy and childhood.  

“In Mauritius, many infectious diseases of childhood have been eliminated or controlled as a result of a robust expanded programme of immunisation which has contributed to a significant reduction in premature morbidity and mortality associated with communicable diseases,” he said.

"The infant mortality rate has decreased from 20.4 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 13.6 in 2015, and the under-five mortality rate from 23.1 per 1,000 live births to 15.5 during the same period.

“The last case of poliomyelitis in Mauritius was notified in 1965 and over the last twenty years, no case of neonatal tetanus has been detected.”  

According to the minister, well-baby clinics by medical practitioners, midwives and public health nursing officers as well as the introduction of new vaccines such as the Rotavirus Vaccine, the Inactivated Polio Vaccine and the Pneumococcal Vaccine, were central to the success of the immunisation programme.

“We shall continue to invest in immunisation programmes and a healthy future for the children in Mauritius,” the Minister said before announcing the introduction, later this year, of a vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus as a primary prevention strategy against cervical cancer.  

One official of the Health ministry said that the World Immunisation Week coincided with the launch of the polio switch where all countries that use the oral polio vaccine (OPV) for immunisation, including Mauritius, will cease the use of trivalent OPV and switch to bivalent OPV with the objectives of preventing future cases of paralytic polio caused by type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus, providing greater immunity against the other strains of polio and laying the foundation for inactivated polio vaccine becoming the only polio vaccine in use after the eradication of polio worldwide.

Moreover, he explained that World Malaria Day is commemorated on April 25 every year with a view to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment to malaria prevention and control.

Mauritius eliminated malaria in 1997 and has been certified as malaria-free by the WHO. The country has a very effective system of tracking incoming travellers from malaria prone countries and maintains vigilance against its reintroduction.
-0- PANA NA/AR 25April2016

25 april 2016 17:13:08

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