The heroism of late Dr. Stella Adadevoh is grossly underrated.
Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh was the Lead Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at a private hospital in Lagos, Nigeria where she worked for 21 years. She had never seen Ebola before but was able to diagnose and contain Nigeria’s first-ever Ebola patient in July 2014. When threatened by Liberian officials who wanted the patient to be discharged to attend a conference, she resisted the pressure and said, “for the greater public good” she would not release him.
If she hid Patrick Sawyer in her hospital without notifying the authorities, imagine the number of souls that would have perished.
She resisted the foreign pressure to release him and also created a makeshift isolation for him by herself. She didn’t leave it to junior staff. She even ensured provision of PPE for them. She saved us.
Since Nigeria’s health system was not prepared for an outbreak at the time, she contracted Ebola and died alongside 3 of her colleagues. Her heroic efforts prevented a major outbreak in the most populous African country and served as the catalyst for successful government action to contain the spread of what would have been a major outbreak in a country of more than 190 million people.
As a result of her keen perception, courage, and steadfastness, all 20 Ebola cases in Nigeria were traced to a single path of transmission originating with the first (index) patient who took a flight from Monrovia, Liberia to Lagos.
This is what differentiated the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria from the outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where the index patients were not initially diagnosed or contained.
Nigeria misses Adadevoh without knowing. This country is so repulsively short of conscientious people like her.
If you knew how many Lagos private hospitals are secretly shielding suspected COVID-19 cases from the authorities and endangering junior staff in the process, you’d understand why Adadevoh deserves a posthumous national honour.
What she did is not as easy as it sounds.
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