Malaria drug puts Irish troops at risk, says PDForra

Irish soldiers are being put at risk of developing depression, confusion, extreme fear, and hallucinations because the Government still insists on giving them an anti- malaria drug on peacekeeping mission to Africa, against the advice of top UN medical experts.
Malaria drug puts Irish troops at risk, says PDForra

The head of the organisation which represents the vast bulk of Defence Forces members says he is “concerned” that troops are still being given the drug, Lariam, because of its significant side-effects.

PDForra general secretary Gerry Rooney made his comments in advance of force’s annual general conference which gets under way in Co Cork today, which will primarily focus on poor pay and conditions being experienced by enlisted men in the Defence Forces.

“While many who take it [Lariam] do not suffer side-effects, it has a bad reputation that means most of those who are scheduled to take it would rather not. However, the fact remains it is a very effective and efficient at ensuring those who take it do not develop malaria which of course is a most serious condition,” Mr Rooney said.

“The reason advanced by the Department of Defence for only issuing Lariam to military personnel from Ireland is the fact it is the most appropriate drug to address situations where military personnel serve in conflict zones,” Mr Rooney said.

“However, the UN itself demands that its troop contributing countries either issue Lariam or where those concerned are Lariam sensitive, Doxycycline, to soldiers in malaria-infested areas.”

Mr Rooney added the provision in the UN Medical Support Manual is not followed by Ireland.

“In PDForra’s view the advice of the experts should be followed,” he said.

More in this section