The Ebola Mission: an Update from Major General Jeremy Rowan

Major General Jeremy Rowan

The Worshipful Company is proud to support the training of Environmental Health Technicians from the WCEC-affiliated Army Medical Services. Here, the unit’s Director General, Honorary Freeman Major General Jeremy Rowan, describes its mission to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, launched within weeks of the WCEC’s Military Awards Ceremony last October.

“We deployed three groups of people. The first provides routine (non-Ebola) medical care to the force. The second set up and runs a training academy, teaching the World Health Organisation Ebola Awareness Programme to Sierra Leone nationals. Within little more than a month, they had trained over 3,000 people to work in the rural community, helping to prevent the spread of this dreadful disease.

“The third group set up an Ebola virus treatment facility adjacent to the Save the Children unit in Kerrytown. The mission was to provide a ‘platinum standard’ facility for NHS volunteers and other international healthcare workers who became infected.

“The mission is dangerous and a new challenge for our Army. I had to devise/write protocols, procedures and tactics as we prepared. We converted the AMS Training Centre in Strensall, York, into an Ebola treatment facility simulator, bringing in national and international expertise.

“What it demonstrates is the agility and flexibility of my terrific people. This mission is vital – we must stop this disease spreading around the globe. Environmental protection/medical force protection is always crucial. Yellow fever and many other nasty conditions are endemic. Malaria is a much more widespread risk than Ebola though less emotive.

“Visiting Sierra Leone showed me that morale is high as the troops see the point of the task. The Medical Force Protection measures are the best I have ever seen. We are making a genuine difference.”

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