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RSA Welcomes Otago University Study Findings

RSA Welcomes Otago University Study Findings

The RSA welcomes the publication of the study on the mortality and morbidity of Vietnam veterans completed by the University of Otago Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.

The study makes it clear that those veterans who have expressed their concern over many years that Agent Orange had a toxic and deleterious effect on the health of many Vietnam veterans were fully justified in their claims. Its results show an increased risk for them of cancer to the head, neck, larynx and pharynx, in chronic lymphatic leukaemia and in lung cancer.
It validates beyond dispute the provisions put in place to care for the health of Vietnam veterans and their families as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ex Vietnam Services Association, the RSA and the Government in December 2006. The RSA thanks Professor David McBride and his colleagues for this important work.

“The Otago study was commissioned by the War Pensions Advisory Board of which the RSA is a member. It is an important outcome which will reduce uncertainty for many veterans. The accepted presumption that ‘if they served in Vietnam and have one of the conditions specifically listed in the War Pensions Act then it is presumed to be due to that service unless it can be proven otherwise’ is reinforced by the study,” says National President Don McIver. The study also shows the importance, at the time of deployment, of collecting research information and gaining an understanding of the environment and the conditions of service for any overseas military deployment. “It is unfortunate that Vietnam veterans have had to wait for more than 50 years for this to be done and for these conclusions to be reached. We must ensure that we don’t allow this to happen to today’s and tomorrow’s service personnel.”


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