COVID-19: Manny Asika, Nigerian survivor who beat coronavirus in 10 days shares his experience

EMMANUEL Manny Asika was amongst 170 survivors who were discharged from various designated infectious hospitals across the country as at April 19, he was given a clean bill of health from the Infectious Diseases Hospital, IDH, Yaba, Lagos following his recovery from COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus according to a Nigeria Health Watch report.

Sharing his experience, Asika a professional IT expert went down memory lane on how he was diagnosed with the disease to his subsequent recovery.

His illness started when he noticed he had symptoms of malaria, associated with body aches and fever while working from home. After taking prescriptions for malaria which persisted for over two days he was self-admitted himself into a private hospital in Victoria Island.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, was reached to take samples of Asika to determine his status if he had the disease or not.

Despite, having malaria, the doctors suggested that Asika be subjected to tests for COVID-19 and on March 23 the results came back positive.

“I moved from shock, denial, anxiety, questioning and eventually acceptance. I kept the information very close to just my nuclear family, not because I was afraid of stigma but because I knew people who would panic,” he said.

People who had contact with Asika at the private hospital, his office, and home were isolated while those who were showing symptoms were tested.

He was immediately taken to the Infectious Disease Centre at Mainland Hospital in Yaba, where he was admitted into the isolation ward set up at the hospital for COVID-19 patients where he spent 10 days.

“My lowest point was not being able to eat for days I lost a great deal of weight. I knew that I was getting dehydrated and I couldn’t replace or replenish the fluids I was losing. I was throwing up everything I was eating,” he said.

Uncertain days

Asika description of what he felt while he was recovering at the isolation ward was uncertainty as patients didn’t know what to expect because their condition could deteriorate without warning.

“I was a constant name with the doctors because I was always conferring with them. We talked about having a dietician at some point to see what fluids I could take and eventually how they could stop nausea.

“There were bad days and there were good days but it is definitely not a normal flu. This is something serious we all know that it is life-threatening. Every single day you wake up, you are hoping that your condition does not deteriorate this played silently in everyone’s subconscious,” he said.

Asika had trouble with taking food until a dietician was deployed to address his dietary concerns by placing him on oats and custard until he was able to start taking noodles.

Overcoming the virus

After testing negative for the second time on April 1, Asika was elated when he recieved the good news from the doctors the next day that his results showed his third negative result in 10 days.
After being observed he was immediately discharged from the isolation ward explaining that since he got discharged he had not been stigmatised since he returned home.
“At a recent meeting in the estate where I live, to discuss security amidst the currently escalating violence in the state, I mentioned openly that I just recovered from COVID-19 and encouraged everyone to take the disease seriously, to understand that transmission is very easy and to follow safety protocols. I didn’t notice any stigmatisation,” he said.

Speaking on the quality of healthcare service received at the isolation ward, Asika commended the health personnel at the isolation centre, saying they showed empathy to the patients at the centre.

    “We had their numbers on speed dial and they were available 24/7 to respond to us. Treatment was personalised, so it was not one-size-fits-all. For instance, people who had underlying conditions had a separate treatment regime,” he said.

    It is estimated that 3, 000 health workers, including doctors, nurses and laboratory scientists have been infected by the COVID-19 across the globe since the outbreak of the disease according to the World Health Organisation, WHO.

    Asika said patients at the isolation centre were impressed that they made a viral video in appreciation of their efforts in providing care.

    “We were so impressed that we created the video appreciating the doctors, nurses, cleaners and all the support staff. It went viral, despite the far from perfect conditions they never had sour dispositions, they were very friendly, supportive and professional,” he stated.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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