Major Scott Dunlop of 38 Brigade, based at Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn, recently received a Commendation from Lieutenant General Regional Command.
Scott received the accolade for his work during his deployment to Sierra Leone in January 2015 during the Ebola outbreak that threatened not only Sierra Leonne, but other countries in the region.
Deployed, at short notice, to the role of Chief of Staff (COS) within a District Emergency Response Centre (DERC), he was responsible for the operational output of up to 5000 Sierra Leone military, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and international health care professionals; the task was immediate and complex.
The DERC was the co-ordinating HQ for all new emergency lines of effort; dead body management, ambulance services, gravediggers, quarantines, community surveillance and educational social outreach.
Whilst the facilitation of an ambulance service and grave digging teams was an urgent requirement of the operation, the key to winning the fight was the attention given to changing community behaviours and deep rooted cultural and religious practices through subtle, precise social outreach.
The strategic fight against Ebola rapidly switched to the winning of community trust and an ability to deliver ‘soft power’ effect to a broken population through a robust and tightly co-ordinated military commanded campaign.