Veterans’ Affairs Minister George Hawkins says today’s release of a report by Wellington School of Medicine researchers, showed no conclusive evidence of a causal association between service in Vietnam and birth defects or childhood cancer in veterans’ children.
‘The Health Needs of the Children of Vietnam and Operation Grapple Veterans’
report reviewed all available international research on the health of Vietnam and nuclear test veterans’ children. Authors Dr Debbie McLeod and Donna Cormack considered the research within the New Zealand context.
Mr Hawkins said as well as providing no conclusive evidence of a causal association between service in Vietnam and birth defects or childhood cancer in veterans’ children, it also found no clear association between the ill health of the children of Operation Grapple veterans and their parents’ service.
However, the Government would extend additional assistance provided to the children of these veterans.
The assistance would include children conceived after their parents’ service and now diagnosed with adrenal gland cancer and acute myeloid leukemia.
This decision followed similar moves in the Commonwealth Government of Australia, Mr Hawkins said.
Funding would cover out of pocket expenses for Vietnam and Operation Grapple
veterans’ children who suffer from spina bifida and/or cleft lip/palate. All forms of counselling, including genetic counselling, are available for the children.
New Zealand was the only country that provided assistance to the children of nuclear test veterans, Mr Hawkins said.
“The extension of assistance demonstrates this Government’s ongoing commitment to assisting the children of Vietnam and Operation Grapple veterans,” he said.
The assistance would be provided through Veterans’ Affairs case management service.
The Government would continue to monitor international research on the health of Vietnam and nuclear test veterans’ children.
Contact: Helen Corrigan, George Hawkins Press Secretary 021 270 9131
NOTE: Copies of “The Health Needs of the Children of Vietnam and Operation Grapple Veterans” reports are available on following websites:
Published: 2002 November, 26 | By: George Hawkins | Title: More support for veterans’ children after report released | Source: beehive.govt.nz