HC Deb 28 February 2001 vol 363 cc664-5W
Mr. Gerald Howarth

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there were sufficient supplies of Mefloquine or equivalent anti-malarial drugs for members of the Parachute Regiment and other service personnel deployed to Sierra Leone in 2000; and if he will make a statement. [149885]

Dr. Moonie

[holding answer 12 February 2001]: My Department had sufficient supplies of Mefloquine and other anti-malarial drugs to support deployments to Sierra Leone in 2000. There were no known problems in obtaining supplies, either at the start of Operation Palliser or on subsequent deployments. Some 200 Army personnel nevertheless deployed initially without anti-malarial tablets. An Army board of inquiry subsequently concluded that this was due to an oversight in their preparation for an unexpectedly rapid deployment. Within 24 hours of these personnel arriving in theatre, the French drug, Savarine, was procured locally and distributed. Steps were immediately taken to provide Mefloquine, the preferred anti-malarial treatment, from the UK and all personnel taking Savarine transferred to Mefloquine within four days. One other individual is known to have deployed without anti-malarials as a result of being temporarily absent from his unit on duty just prior to deploying and then fore missing the issue of Mefloquine. He was issued with Mefloquine as soon as the problem came to light between two to five days after his arrival in theatre.

No anti-malarial drug is 100 per cent. effective and the degree of protection can be subject to a wide range of factors', for example, the geographical location, the season and the activities undertaken by the individuals concerned.

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