Thursday, 5 March 2020

Ceisteanna (20, 21, 33)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

20. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the attention of his Department or the Defence Forces medical authorities were advised when deciding to allow melfoquine as the anti-malaria drug of first choice for Defence Forces personnel on overseas missions in sub-Saharan Africa that it could cause severe mental disturbances and psychiatric or neurological side effects in view of the World Health Organisation warning in 1989. [3713/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

21. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the attention of his Department or the Defence Forces medical authorities were advised when deciding to allow melfoquine as the anti-malaria drug of first choice for Defence Forces personnel on overseas missions in sub-Saharan Africa in particular in view of an article (details supplied) highlighting the World Health Organisation warning in 1989 that it could cause severe mental disturbances and psychiatric or neurological side effects. [3714/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

33. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if the attention of the malaria chemoprophylaxis working group was drawn to the World Health Organisation report of 30 September 1989 that the drug lariam may cause severe mental disturbances and other psychiatric or neurological side effects; if the report and other subsequent reports or inquiries were taken into account in preparation of their reports; and when the reports of the group will be published. [3730/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 21 and 33 together.

I am advised that the Defence Forces Medical Policy on the use of malaria chemoprophylaxis (including the use of Lariam) is in line with United Nations and World Health Organisation guidelines.

UN Medical Support Manual 2015 Edition serves as the standard reference document on medical support aspects of United Nations peacekeeping operations and political missions in the field. This Manual provides that anti-malarial medicines can be used to prevent malaria. It does not make any recommendations as to which chemoprophylaxis should be used but rather makes reference to the World Health Organisation (WHO) International Travel and Health Handbook for the latest information on malaria chemoprophylaxis. The WHO Handbook provides for a range of anti-malarials, which includes mefloquine (Lariam). The WHO Handbook notes that there are specific contraindications and possible side-effects for all anti-malarial drugs.

The report of the Malaria Chemoprophylaxis Working Group was prepared in the context of current and potential litigation, and is therefore legally privileged and will not be published.