President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday announced the inclusion of optional childhood immunisations in the national health insurance scheme ‘Aasandha.’ Addressing supporters during his campaign trip to Madaveli Island, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, President Solih revealed that the Aasandha scheme will now cover vital optional vaccines for children.

President Solih outlined the establishment of the National Health Service as a distinct entity while discussing enhancements to the healthcare services. The decision to provide coverage for optional childhood vaccinations under the Aasandha programme is poised to address a longstanding concern among parents and caregivers regarding the affordability of these essential immunisations.

Mandatory vaccines for children have been offered free of charge in the Maldives. However, optional vaccinations, which are equally crucial, incurred a financial burden on families as they were not previously covered by the Aasandha insurance scheme.

Among the significant optional vaccinations now covered under the scheme are:

  • Rotavirus Vaccine: This vaccine, administered in three doses, guards against rotavirus infections—a leading cause of severe diarrhea in children under the age of five.
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine: Administered in three doses, this vaccine provides protection against pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, and sinus infections.
  • Influenza Vaccine: For children under nine years old, this vaccine requires two doses, while those aged nine and above require only one dose. It offers protection against flu, pneumonia, heart issues, ear and sinus infections, and other illnesses.
  • Chickenpox Vaccine: Administered twice, this vaccine offers protection against chickenpox, a common childhood ailment.
  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type b Vaccine (Hib Vaccine): This vaccine is effective against Hib-related illnesses, including pneumonia.
  • Hepatitis A Vaccine: Requiring two doses, this vaccine guards against hepatitis A, a viral infection.

The government says the inclusion of optional vaccines in the Aasandha scheme ensures that vital immunisations are available to every child, contributing to the overall health and well-being of children while simultaneously easing the financial burden on families.