Alfa Saadu, 68, a Nigerian doctor who came out of retirement to help the United Kingdom fight the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), has died from the disease.

Reuters describes the late Saadu as a “dedicated doctor who came out of retirement to help Britain’s National Health Service (NHS)."

Saadu immigrated to Britain from Nigeria. He had remained close to his family and community in Kwara State in central Nigeria, where he held the traditional title of Galadima of his hometown of Pategi.

He had a long and successful career in NHS hospitals across London, and died on Tuesday, March 31, after suffering from the coronavirus for two weeks, according to his son Dani Saadu.

“My dad was a living legend, worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years saving people’s lives here and in Africa. Up until he got sick, he was still working part-time saving people,” the doctor’s son says.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he has tested positive for coronavirus (BBC)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he has tested positive for coronavirus (BBC)
REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool

Thousands of retired doctors and nurses in the UK have returned to work in response to a government appeal for support for the NHS.

The NHS has been suffering from staff shortages before the crisis.

Founded after World War II to provide free healthcare for everyone living in Britain, the NHS and the values it represents are a unifying force in British society.

“Protect the NHS” has become one of the government’s core messages to Britons amid a national lockdown.

Mourned in Kwara

Kwara Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, is one of many influential figures mourning Saadu.

Abdulrazaq says the late doctor had made “tremendous contributions” to the public good.

“As a public health expert, he saved many lives in London as he did across Africa. He will be sorely missed,” the governor says.

Britain has reported 2,352 deaths from Covid-19 and 29,474 confirmed cases, according to a recent Reuters tally.