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Nigeria Greatest Heroine of Her Time

BACKGROUND

Ameyo Stella Shade Adadevoh was born on the 27th day of October 1956 to the families of Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh of the Anyako Royal House, Ghana/Crowther-Macaulay family of Lagos and Deborah Regina Mcintosh of the Nnamdi Azikiwe/Smith-Wilkey families of Lagos, Nigeria. She spent her early life and the majority of her life in Lagos.

By indication, she is a granddaughter to famous Herbert Samuel Macaulay, a nationalist, politician, surveyor, engineer, architect, journalist, musician and also the founding father of Nigeria’s nationalism.

She is the grand-niece to Nnamdi Azikiwe, a former Nigeria statesman as well as a Governor-general before he became the First President of Nigeria. He was also known to be the strong force behind the nation’s independence and therefore referred to as the father of Nigeria’s nationalism.

Stella Adadevoh also has her background traced as a great great great granddaughter of Bishop Ajayi Crowther, a Yoruba linguist and first African’s Bishop in Nigeria who translated the English Bible to Yoruba version.

Her father, Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh, was a renowned physician, distinguished scientist, lecturer, author, and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos. He served as a consultant and advisor to numerous international organizations such as the World Health Organization and several United Nations agencies and commissions. Thus, her father and grandfather were distinguished scientists.

Little wonder she also left the world and Nigeria especially with an indelible mark following the footprints of her forefathers. Her lineage is one that can never be forgotten neither erased in the history of Nigeria.

EDUCATION

Stella Adadevoh had her preschool in Mainland preparatory primary school in Yaba Lagos(1961 – 1962). She left for Boston, Massachusetts for two years before she came back to continue her education. She had her primary education in Corona School, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria (1964 – 1968). She had her secondary education in Queen’s School, Ibadan (1969 – 1974). She proceeded to have her first degree at the University of Lagos where she studied Medicine and Surgery at the College of Medicine. She had her one-year compulsory housemanship at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. She went ahead to obtain her West African College of Physicians and Surgeons Credentials in 1983. She proceeded to complete her course in Endocrinology at Hammersmith Hospital. This gave her license to practice as the Head Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at the First Consultant’s Medical Center in Lagos, Nigeria where she spends over two decades(precisely 21years).

FEATS

Dr. Adadevoh was the first to alert the Nigerian Ministry of Health on the spread of Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 to Nigeria in 2012.

Barely two years after, she became the first to also diagnose the outbreak of the Ebola virus into Nigeria and traced it to its first patient in 2014.

Dr. Stella Adadevoh was well-known as a diligent, dutiful, vibrant woman who is very skillful and knowledgeable in her profession. She deployed this professionalism in the investigation until the identification of the first Ebola patient, Patrick Sawyer in the August 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria. Patrick Sawyer was a Liberian who came to attend a business conference in Calabar, Nigeria.

Unknown to him, Patrick had contracted the communicable virus and passed out at the airport from where he was rushed into the Medical Center where Dr. Stella worked. On sighting the patient who was diagnosed with just malaria, Dr. Stella immediately knew the situation was beyond that even when she hadn’t seen the Ebola virus patient before.

While Patrick was placed on malaria treatment, Dr. Stella in the company of her group proposed that a wild test be conducted on him. The Lagos State and Federal Ministries of Health, though on strike at that period, were contacted for the test. The results of the test further proved the existence of the virus in his blood.

Dr. Stella kept Patrick at the hospital in isolation even while she was threatened to release him for the conference with an arrest case posing herself to a great risk of contracting the virus as well and endangering her life.

She ignored all of these thoroughly researching the virus and provided the staff with relevant information, procured protective measures and quickly contacted relevant officials. As a result of her report, the Nigerian Government declared a national public health emergency and the Nigerian Ministry of Health set up an Ebola Emergency Operations Center. On 20th October 2014, the World Health Organization(WHO) declared Nigeria to be Ebola-free.

There was however a record of 20 Ebola cases in all. 11 of which were healthcare workers. 6 survived and 5 died, including Dr. Stella Adadevoh and Patrick Sawyer

DEATH

Dr. Stella Adedavoh died on Tuesday, 19 August 2014. She is survived by Husband, Afolabi Emmanuel Cardose and only son, Bankole Cardose.

LEGACY

Dr. Stella will be fondly remembered for her major contributions to the health sector of Nigeria. Dr. Stella was a member of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), British-Nigerian Association, and National Postgraduate Medical College. She served as a Non-Executive Director of Learn Africa Plc. and a writer for the first-ever “Ask the Doc” column in Today’s Woman Magazine, amongst other accomplishments.

Dr. Stella Shade Adadevoh’s intervention and sacrifice prevented the pandemonium that could have accompanied the spread of the virus through the infected person on a country of millions of people. She became the savior of Nigeria from the Ebola virus and thus left an irreplaceable image in the hearts of Nigerians.

Nigeria became the first country to effectively contain and eliminate the Ebola threat that was ravaging three other countries in the West African region. The Nigerian unique method of contact tracing became an effective method later used by other countries, such as the United States, when Ebola threats were discovered.

AFTERLIFE

The Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh Health Trust (DRASA), a non-profit health organization was created in her honor. The film “93 Days ” is dedicated to Late Dr. Stella and tells the story of the treatment of Patrick Sawyer by Dr. Adadevoh and other medical staff at First Consultant Medical Center. On 27th October 2018, she was honoured with a Google Doodle posthumously on her 62nd birthday.

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