When laboratory confirmation of the Nigeria’s first Ebola case, in Lagos, was announced on 23 July, the news rocked the entire nation and public health communities all around the world.
Nigeria being the most populous country in Africa was a time bomb waiting to explode with such a disease outbreak considering the number of people living in Lagos – around 21 million – let alone the rest of the country combined. Imagine the damage.
One woman’s name would never be failed to be mentioned – Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, the Nigerian doctor who raised a red flag when attending to a Liberian patient, Patrick Sawyer, July 20, 2014, at the First Consultant Hospital in Nigeria’s main city, Lagos.
Her selfless sacrifice after identifying Nigeria’s ‘Patient Zero’ halted the spread of the deadly virus in Nigeria. Her courage cost her her life but saved millions more.
She died of the virus on 19 August, one of eight fatalities out of 20 cases (each linked to Sawyer) in the country. Without her dedication, it is quite possible that the World Health Organisation would not have declared Nigeria Ebola-free on Monday, October 20 2014. The significance of her actions, and those of her hospital colleagues, cannot be overstated.
You will forever be remembered. Rest on.