Poor Health of Female Vietnam Veterans Proven

Media Release - 7 December 1998

The findings of the Report on the Morbidity of Female Vietnam veterans supports the proposition that the health of all Vietnam veterans is significantly worse than that of the vast majority of Australians. The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Mr Bruce Scott, announced the release of the report today.

The Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia supports the analysis undertaken by the Study Committee. It notes the limitations of the survey due to the fact that only 278 of the 484 female veterans could be located. Of these 81% responded to the survey.

Despite these limitations, it is clear that female Vietnam veterans are exposed to excessive incidence of the following conditions:

Breast cancer
Eczema and demititis
Gastric reflux
Hydatidiform mole
Ischaemic heart disease
Overall incidence of cancer
Hepatitis A and B
Hearing and ear problems
Panic attacks
Live births with labour complications

The National President of the VVAA, Mr Clive Mitchell-Taylor said today, "I urge female Vietnam veterans who were not a part of this study to contact the Association and provide contact details. We understand that many will have tried to put this tragic part of their lives behind them, however information about their health may be important to others – particularly children."

He again encouraged the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to review the adequacy of the resources committed to the Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service and called on the Repatriation Commission to exercise its authority under the Veterans’ Entitlement Act to declare Asthma, Eczema, Dermitis, Hepatitis, and Hydatidiform Mole as conditions caused by Vietnam service. The latter is a female conditions, while the remainder were also of high incidence in male veterans.

"The end result of this study should be action, not just a report!" he said, adding "Those suffering from conditions that are already recognised, particularly cancers, and who have not submitted a claim, should contact their local branch of the VVAA or RSL."

Media Contact

Clive Mitchell-Taylor
National President
Contact Numbers as above, or 041 201 2167


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