SHE would have been 62 year -old in October, but Stella Ameyo Adadevoh’s life came to a sudden end−she died on August 19, 2014− making an ultimate sacrifice for the whole country.
It was she, who after putting Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian Diplomat who entered Nigeria with the deadly Ebola virus in quarantine, that prevented a large-scale spread of the virus in Nigeria.
Sawyer would have escaped into other parts of Nigeria four years ago and ultimately infected more Nigerians with the virus, but for the late Adadevoh’s bravery, professionalism and patriotism.
Adadevoh, who headed the treatment team reportedly declined to discharge Sawyer despite pressure from his employers (Liberian Government) to allow him to travel to Calabar for a conference.
She quarantined him, contacted relevant authorities, and ensured the provision of protective materials and Ebola educational material for the hospital staff.
But she, ironically, contacted the deadly virus. On August 4, 2014, it was confirmed that she had tested positive for Ebola virus disease and was being treated. Adadevoh died in the afternoon of August 19, 2014.
She was described after death by Nigerians as a heroine who saved Nigeria from what could have been a major health crisis through enforcement of medical ethics in such situation and died in the process.
THE DENIED BUT DESERVED POST-HUMOUS NATIONAL HOUR
Since her demise, leaving a son and her husband behind, many Nigerians have criticized the Federal Government for failure to immortalize her for this singular heroic deed with the posthumous national award.
Adadevoh, like many who have received the award, critics argued has laid her life down to save the humanity which no sacrifice can humanly surpass.
The Federal Government in 2014, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, had premised her exclusion from the national honour on the argument that the law that established the award did not allow it to be given posthumously.
However, the recent conferment of post-humous awards on late MKO Abiola, acclaimed winner of the 1993 June 12, presidential election and late Gani Fawehinmi, lawyer and human rights activist by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has opened another opportunity for Adadevoh to be recognized with a similar honour.
EBOLA RESURGENCE IN CONGO AND NEED TO BE GRATEFUL TO ADADEVOH
By October 20, 2014, when the World Health Organisation (WHO)declared Nigeria Ebola-free, 19 Nigerians were already infected with the virus and seven of them including Dr. Adadevoh died.
It was on that day, according to the world health body that Nigeria reached 42 days that any person in the country had contact with a confirmed or probable Ebola case.
On July 20, 2014, the infected Liberian, Sawyer arrived by aeroplane into Lagos before he was admitted to the hospital where Adadevoh worked.
The resurgence of the Ebola crisis in Democratic Republic of Congo that has led to the death of a number of people is a good reminder of how lucky Nigeria was when Adadevoh and other team members prevented the spread of the killer virus.
In early May 2018, the Ebola re-surfaced again in the country, and its Ministry of Health announced that two people near the city of Bikoro in Equateur province, which borders the Republic of Congo, have confirmed cases of the deadly disease.
Not less than 17 deaths have since been recorded in the country in the pace of five weeks that the virus was detected while over 21 were said to have been infected. The disease came just days after a recent emergence of the disease, which killed 33 people, was declared over.
On the anniversary of Adadevoh’s death, Lekan Otufodurin, a Journalist, writes, “for the major role she played at a crucial time in the history of our country, she deserves every accolade she can get.”