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The Woman Who Saved the Country

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IMAGE: Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, »


If you ask the little kid nearby about his ambition, you’ll perhaps have an idea of what he’s about to say. He’ll likely mention to you that he wants to become a doctor before he changes his mind again and again. It’s one thing: Being a doctor has a lot of allure. The prestige it carries and of course medical profession is the only profession that nearly shares that attribute of a ‘saviour’ with the God almighty.

But the appeal that medical profession has comes with its hazards. For instance, doctors often treat you with a smile, but they may have concerns about your hacking and coughing. Interestingly, the ethics of the profession says carry on with your duty.

Treating patients with contagious illnesses and diseases is a regular hazard of medical work. Yes, doctors are at the forefront of fighting battles they had no idea of how or when they started, but they (the doctors) must stay in that battle with the patients.

Whether it’s a battle against malaria, respiratory illness, hepatitis and Ebola Virus Disease, to name a few, the doctors must be resolute and like soldiers they can’t just turn back from the war front.

True, unintentional dangers from patients are also a reality for doctors in emergency rooms where patients in shock or trying to resist treatment may fling arms and legs, causing injury.

It was one of such situation that consumed Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, a consultant physician, and member of the illustrious Kwaku Adadevoh/Herbert Macaulay/Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowder lineage who died in the line of duty on Tuesday evening after much struggle with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) she contracted from a Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer who imported the virus into Nigeria on Sunday July 20.

Adadevoh, who is survived by one son, had led the medical team at First Consultants Medical Centre, a Lagos-based hospital, which treated Sawyer on his arrival in Lagos.

As the head of operations at First Consultants, Adadevoh saved our country by coming up with the information that alerted the whole country to dangerous signal.

When Sawyer was admitted at First Consultants, he denied having Ebola virus, but it was Adadevoh according to sources at the hospital that insisted she must be tested for Ebola.

After Sawyer had tested negative to malaria and other diseases, Adadevoh was said to have ordered that his blood be tested for Ebola. It was the positive result of the test that enabled the hospital to contact the Lagos State health authorities about the first Ebola patient in the country.

Sawyer struggled with the medical team, but eventually the truth was unveiled. But before his death he had infected a number of medical personnel at First Consultants Medical Centre with the Ebola virus.

So much has been written about the irresponsible act of Sawyer, so I wouldn’t want to belabour the issue. I can only say the memory of Sawyer will live with us forever and ever, only in a negative way.

So let me concentrate on the woman who saved our country.  After Adadevoh had contracted the virus, she continued to fight the battle alone, making her an uncommon hero. She waited in vain for Zmapp, a drug that could have saved her life, had American government provided it based on the request it got from our government.

One of her relatives, Dr, Okuboyejo who spoke with journalists before her death said: “I heard Dr. Adadevoh was one of those who refused to let Sawyer leave the hospital when he attempted to leave before getting the lab results. She probably saved many lives by doing this despite pressure from the Liberian ambassador to get Sawyer out. Dr. Adadevoh has spent three decades caring for others and deserves the crusade for the Zmapp drugs.”

Unfortunately, Nigeria was denied the drug, instead it was sent to Liberia and other places. Can we now afford to let this hero become a forgotten hero?  No!

Her memory will haunt all of us. Adadevoh lost everything she had, including her life, because she became a gatekeeper for the country. She couldn’t go back home to even say goodbye to her only child. She died.

One of the tributes I read after her death came from someone with whom she had a close working relationship. She described her as a go-getter who always fulfil her own side of the deals. Not only that, Adadevoh was said be a woman of rare honesty. That rare honesty was what saved our country. In a country where corruption has a popular face, she could have connived with Liberia’s top government officials who wanted Sawyer released from First Consultants Medical Centre the moment he tested negative to malaria.

For her insistence in getting to the root of the medical challenge that Sawyer brought to Nigeria, she put her life on the line and eventually saved the country from the deadly Ebola epidemic that could wipe out millions of people within a short period.

Her rich curriculum vitae and medical pedigree went for it and the 60th birthday she had looked forward to in two years from now to savour the joy of having worked for over three decades and probably retire couldn’t happen in her lifetime.

The late Adadevoh was a Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, and a member of the Nigerian Medical Association and the British-Nigerian Association. She obtained her MBBS degree from the University of Lagos, Akoka as well as a Diploma in Endocrinology from the University of London. She was a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College and she practiced in the United Kingdom and Nigeria for more than three decades.

As a country, we must think of ways to etch her name and that of other foot soldiers (other medical officers) that died to save our country - from this virulent virus brought to us by a dishonest man in - a memorial stone.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Ebola Virus Disease     Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh     Dr     Okuboyejo