Children – Please Contact Vietnam Veteran Dads

Media Release  – 10 February 1999

The Vietnam Veterans’ Association of Australia is concerned that it will be unable to achieve results from the validation of the Vietnam Veterans’ Health Study because of the low level of support provided by Vietnam veterans, and their children. The initial results of the study indicated that both veterans and children suffered from a range of illnesses and diseases – particularly cancers - at rates far in excess of the general population.  The government has commenced a validation of this self-reported study, but responses are disappointing so far.

Nearly 60% of veterans had responded to the validation, with 98% of those giving permission for their condition to be confirmed by a doctor or with an appropriate register such as the cancer register.  Reponses for children are markedly different, with a response rate of less than 40%.

VVAA National President, Mr Clive Mitchell-Taylor said today, “Vietnam veterans are one of the most studied groups in Australia.  I can understand them being unwilling to respond to yet another study, and yet they continue to do so.  The children – most of them adults now – may not understand how important it is for them to allow access to their medical records.  I ask them to please contact their fathers, and work with them to validate these results.  By taking part in the study, they can help other children who are perhaps not so well off.”

“This issue goes way beyond what veterans’ organisation you belong to. It goes beyond how well you relate to your parents.” Mr Mitchell-Taylor said.  “ It’s about preventing people – veterans and children – from dying unnecessarily, and making sure that they all have the best possible health care.  Unless there is a better response rate, there is a danger that the Government will become complacent, and unwilling to address these health care issues.  We are particularly concerned about the fact that our children are two times more likely to die from suicide or accident than other Australians, and that they are far more susceptible to all types of cancers.”

Media Contact:

Clive Mitchell-Taylor
Phone     (02) 6236 8183 (Home)
                 (02) 6266 8202 (Work)
                 041 201 2167   (Mobile)


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