COVVHS is about concerned people coming together to promote the health issues facing many sons and daughters of Vietnam veterans.
The objective being to promote policy change at Government level for improved services to those sons and daughters who have health problems which have arisen due to their parent's active service.
An integral part of this is to undertake a medical study into children's' health problems and to evaluate the services available. COVVHS proposes that this initiative will be directed toward the children of veterans from all parts of Australia.
A meeting held at Eaglehawk (Bendigo) in March 2003 initiated by the Victorian Branch of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia, drew very concerned and committed people from across the state. This sparked a more organised approach and the formation of COVVHS.
The first endeavour of COVVHS has been to bring together people from each of the veteran community organisations to provide a diverse range of skills and expertise.
Many individuals have been endeavouring to achieve recognition of the still births and miscarriages; the structural health problems (e.g. spina bifida); the acute illnesses (e.g. cancers); the suicides and accidental deaths; and the chronic ill health affecting children of Vietnam veterans.
There is a larger and more diverse range of problems than most realise.
People from many areas of Australia have been contacting us with their individual stories of children's ill-health; wanting to understand if others have similar problems, and many not aware of a potential link with their parent's service.
The Commonwealth Government in 2007 committed $13.5M to a study called "INTERGENERATIONAL HEALTH EFFECTS OF SERVICE IN THE MILITARY", which will provide research into the health of veterans families, hopefully providing a very significant opportunity to understand and improve people's lives.
Most people are aware that over past generations Australian armed forces service personnel have undertaken a committed role on behalf of their country. What has not been understood is that in many cases there has been a very significant impact on their family's physical & mental health, and the quality of their lives. It is not before time that the Australian Government and community obtained a complete understanding.
The proposed scope of the study has been widened to include East Timor personnel and to also include a prospective study into troops who are yet to see service abroad.
The Minister for Veterans Affairs, Mr. Alan Griffin, is very enthusiastic to introduce the Governments policy and has said that he will be working with the veteran community to ensure stakeholders are actively involved with the health study. COVVHS is very appreciative of Minister Griffins continued collaboration. He also gave a committment during 2007 to commit to a Health Study.
Website updated 17th July 2009