Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh risked her life to ensure that Ebola-infected Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer remained confined to a hospital room thereby saving millions of Nigerians from impending disaster.
Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh died on August 19, 2014 from health complications after contacting the deadly Ebola Virus in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading throughout Nigeria.
Her single act of bravery saved millions from a potential outbreak in the country. Nigerians will forever remember this angel from First Consultant Medical Center (FCMC), Obalende, Lagos.
Many have asked, doesn’t her selfless action make her worth recognition from the number one citizen or better still his government?
In July 2014, Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer arrived Nigeria despite knowing that he had been infected with the Ebola virus by his sister, Princess. Sawyer who travelled to Nigeria for an ECOWAS conference was however admitted at First Consultant Medical Center after collapsing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
While there, Patrick Sawyer, according to several accounts, lied about his condition and misled hospital staff. He is also said to have urinated on them and taken out his IV causing blood to splash around the room. Even more alarming, was a call placed to the hospital urging them to let Sawyer go but this is where Dr Adadevoh, our hero, stepped in and prevented him from leaving without caring about her own safety.
Four staff of the FCMC died after coming in contact with Sawyer, one of them a pregnant 25-year-old nurse who had just started on the job. Led by the valiant Dr Adadevoh, they practically saved the lives of all Nigerians and aided the speedy containment of the Ebola disease. They are all heroes.
Nigerians have asked that the late doctor be awarded with one of the National Honours, which include the titles of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) among others, in acknowledgement of her sacrifice but the Federal Government, through Presidential Aide, Doyin Okupe has said that such an honour cannot be granted posthumously.
However, even if the Nigerian Government had bestowed a national honour on Dr Adadevoh, it would be too little too late because they’ve failed her and no award can right the wrong already done.
The Nigerian Government failed Dr Adadevoh by not setting up proper checks for Ebola at the airport in Lagos thereby negligently permitting the entry of infected Liberian-American, Sawyer.
The Nigerian Government failed her by not creating an Ebola treatment center in advance despite knowing fully well that neighbouring countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were battling the disease.
The Nigerian Government failed Adadevoh by not doing whatever was necessary to ensure that she got proper treatment for the disease.
The Nigerian Government failed Adadevoh by letting her die; she was already a hero, she didn’t need to die to be one. The greatest honour for her sacrifice would have been to save her life, any other things pales in comparison.
It now happens that the greatest service the Nigerian Government has done to honour the memory of Stella Ameyo Adadevoh is to spare her its National Honour; an ‘honour’ that was refused by the late literary icon, Chinua Achebe, twice.
The sacrifice made by Dr Adadevoh can only be acknowledged with the highest accolade; gratitude from the people she saved. Our heroine singlehandedly put herself in harm’s way to keep us, and our children and, our country as we know it, safe. We will forever be in her debt.
Rest in peace Aunty Stella. May the gratitude of the millions you laid down your life for rise up and become a halo around your head, for you were our guardian angel and we hope that an angel you shall remain.