WE wish to add our voice to the growing clamour for the honouring of the late medical staff of First Consultants Medical Centre, Lagos, who paid the supreme prize after treating the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, the man who deliberately brought the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) to Nigeria.
Of the three medical staff who succumbed to death, the case of Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, the Senior Consultant/Endocrinologist stood out. She not only bravely battled to save the life of Sawyer, but also played extraordinary roles to ensure he never succeeded in spreading the disease to other unsuspecting members of the public.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, revealed that it was Adadevoh’s refusal to discharge Sawyer who insisted on attending an ECOWAS meeting in Calabar, and the alarm she raised with the Lagos State Ministry of Health that not only stopped the spread of the disease to a national disaster proportion, but also triggered the effective response of both the state and federal governments in controlling the medical emergency.
Adadevoh is a national heroine; an exemplary professional, whose selfless service to the medical profession and the nation at large should be held up to inspire others, especially the youth. The people and government of Nigeria should stand up and salute her noble spirit, and appreciate the efforts of her colleagues, including Nurse Justina Obi Ejelonu, who were martyred after giving care to the stricken foreigner.
We recommend that Dr. Adadevoh should be given a prestigious posthumous national award, while adequate financial compensation should be paid to the families of all those who fell in their line of service in this scourge.
We also encourage public spirited individuals, philanthropists and the numerous civil society advocacy groups to mount fund raising activities on behalf of the heroes as it is done in every humane and appreciative society. This will spur others in their respective areas of calling to serve with all their strength without pulling back, knowing that if anything happens to them the society and their country will not forget them.
We must also collectively fight the bogey of stigmatisation, which families of the fallen patriots are beginning to experience. Part of effectively containing the Ebola threat is to ensure that those paying the social costs are protected through massive public enlightenment and psychological support.
We encourage the Ebola infection survivors, especially the female doctor simply identified as Dr. Ada, to be brave and go public, just as the American survivors have, and help demystify it. It will open new vistas of relevance for them. They have nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, they are our precious jewels in whom we take so much pride.