By Saheed Saheed
Stan Lee made the fantasies of millions of kids all over the world come true with the creation of superheroes who could save the world with their supernatural abilities. Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, Captain America, Ironman and a host of other comic superheroes save the world on a daily basis in comic books, cinemas and in our living rooms, but on the 20th day of July 2014, Dr. Stella Adadevoh saved over 180 million Nigerians with her courage, dedication, bravery and unrivaled professionalism.
Paying the Ultimate Sacrifice
Stella Adadevoh paternal grandfather was the great nationalist, Herbert Macaulay, who established NNDP, which was the first political party in Nigeria, her maternal great uncle was Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, one of the greatest nationalist who fought for Nigeria’s dependence; he was also the first premier of the Eastern region and the first president of Nigeria. Stella’s father Dr. Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh was a renowned physician, author, lecturer and a respected medical practitioner, even at the World Health organization. Little wonder she rose to the occasion when the world required her service, and gave over 180 million Nigerians hope that there is an angel living in every human and only needs harnessing.
On July 20th 2014, Patrick Sawyer left quarantine in Liberia and flew to Lagos to attend a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He collapsed at the airport and was taken to the First Consultants Medical Centre (FCMC) where he was attended to by highly skilled medical practitioners.
The first doctor that attended to the Liberian diplomat diagnosed him with malaria, but at inspection on the second day during her ward round, Stella Adadevoh diagnosed and suspected that the Liberian might be exposed to the Ebola virus.
While questioning Mr Sawyer, Liberian government officials appealed to Dr. Stella to release the diplomat so that he will be able to attend the ECOWAS conference, but she refused. They threatened to sue her for kidnapping and violation of his human rights amidst other charges, but she stood her ground, telling the Liberian officials that she won’t release him “for the greater public good.”
Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole was not ready to face the dreaded Ebola virus, but her swift action and urgent call to the Lagos State Ministry of Health changed the whole narrative. Sawyer was confirmed to have the dreaded virus; he was treated as best as they could but he died at the FCMC.
The little information squeezed from the diplomat resulted in the tracking of all possible contacts from the index patient. There were 20 cases in total, 11 were health officials, 6 survived, while 5 lost their precious life including Dr. Stella Adadevoh.
Honest Bravery and Unrivalled Professionalism
Despite not physically seeing any Ebola patient before, Stella Adadevoh made sure that she stuck to her gun and insisted that the patient be tested for Ebola. She held him against his wish and amidst pressure from diplomatic officials, until the arrival of the government officials.
Stella Adadevoh had friends, families, loved ones and acquaintances, yet she made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of all. She could have pushed him out of the hospital at the initial diagnosis and saved her precious life and could have lived a long and prosperous life. She could have followed the advice of the other doctors who diagnosed malaria, just to save her head. But she did not; she chose to be the real superhero without a mask or a cobweb. She saved us with no iron or shield; she sacrificed her life for total strangers who did not share her political or religious sentiments. She died for people from other tribes who may not even hear her name or remember her till they die; yet she chose to stand up tall, looked death in the face and embraced it.
Stella Adadevoh might be dead but her legacy still lives on. A health trust called Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh Heath Trust is continuing in her footsteps. The world has read and learnt about her bravery and sacrifice; young children are reading about her on a daily basis; millions all over the world know about her struggle and she should be smiling from above knowing she helped conquer Ebola in Nigeria.
The World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free on 20th of October 2014.