Nigeria rolled out celebration drums yesterday to mark one year of being declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was indeed celebration galore of what could have turned to a national tragedy.
Also yesterday, the Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh Health Trust (DRASA) was officially launched in Lagos at a colourful event attended by the creme-de-la-creme of the corporate world and the health sector.
The health trust in honour of late Dr. Adadevoh, aims to support the Nigerian healthcare system in the area of education and training; influence patient-friendly policies; promote local researches and enhance disease control efforts in the country.
The traffic gridlock inwards to Victoria Island notwithstanding, the turnout was significant, which reflects the lasting impression the deceased left on their minds.
It would be recalled that late Adadevoh was the lead physician and endocrinologist at First Consultants Medical Centre, who died in the wake of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in 2014.
She is fondly remembered for her landmark role in correctly diagnosing Ebola, containing and resisting pressure to release Nigeria’s index Ebola patient in July 2014.
Son of the late Dr. Adadevoh , Bankole Cardoso said: “The Trust is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees and a four-member international Board of Advisors and will focus on four important health areas: education and training; policy; research; and disease control.
“Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh and the other health workers who lost their lives in the battle against Ebola need not die in vain. This Trust is dedicated to preventing another infectious disease outbreak in Nigeria and each one of us can help make this happen.
“DRASA Health Trust is a nonprofit working to improve and advance healthcare in Nigeria, particularly in the areas of infectious diseases and ethics.
DRASA bridges the gap between funding and resources, implementing organizations and associations, and the areas of greatest need within the Nigerian health sector.
“DRASA (www.drasatrust.org) is a nonprofit that operates in collaboration with strategic partners, organizations, and associations committed to its main objectives.”
Cardoso, said his mother died because the Nigerian health system was not prepared for an outbreak at the time, which led to her contacting Ebola which she eventually died of on August 19, 2014.
Her heroic efforts, however, prevented a major outbreak in Lagos and Nigeria at large and served as the catalyst for government action.
Cardoso said it was to improve on the Nigerian health system and provide the much needed solution that DRASA was born .
A member of the Board of Advisors, Dr. Joan Benson, said in her overview, that the plan with DRASA was to deliver to Nigeria, a first class health system, which government’s efforts could not have achieved.
While appealing for generous donation into the trust, Benson added that DRASA must be seen as a response to Ebola, which is hinged on collaborations to strengthen the nation’s health system.
The evening event, with live musical performances, was attended by the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute; Lagos State governor, represented by his Special Adviser on primary health, Dr. Femi Onanuga; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; Publisher of The Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Ibru and Chief Operating Officer of The Guardian, Dr. Alexander Thomopoulous.
Others are Evelyn Rewane-Fabyan; Mosunmola Fadayomi; Chief (Mrs) Tessa Egbe Ikimi; Monsignor Christopher Edema Boyo; Dr. Helen Boyo-Ekwueme; Mrs Awusi Akinyanju; Dr. Charles and Yinka Akindayomi among others.
Meanwhile, two weeks ago, the world had held its breadth as rumours of a possible outbreak resonated from Calabar, Cross River State.
There was intense relief when exhaustive laboratory tests proved that Nigeria is still Ebola free.
Yesterday, Nigerian officials declared that there was indeed a lot to celebrate one year after.
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute, who addressed health journalists on the one-year anniversary of the Ebola free declaration in Abuja, noted that the nation’s surveillance had been strengthened, while measures had being put in place for enhanced research into the ailment.
He announced that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would soon establish a survival clinic in collaboration with the nation’s tertiary health institutions to address the issue of relapse in survival.
He acknowledged the efforts of those he described as the nation’s heroes.
He went on: “Indeed, without their efforts our economy, social and political lives will not be the same today. If you look closely at other nations that have been ravaged by this outbreak, you can easily imagine what could have been possible.
“The sacrifice of late Dr. Adadevoh, the entire team at First Consultant Hospital in Lagos, all Health workers and their family members dead and alive, remain one we shall forever cherish. We must recognise the Nigerian Field Epidemiologist Programme Team and the Volunteer Team who worked in contact tracing, social mobilisation and case management.”
Government also used the opportunity of the one-year anniversary to celebrate individuals and organisations that stood bravely and fought the disease gallantly.
Top on the list was late Dr. Adadevoh, who stood her grounds and saved the nation from what may have become a national disaster.
Mr_Odunayo Bankole is a multimedia professional. His brand of journalism is both liberal and conservative. A broadcast major, he is very passionate about online journalism and digital media. Feedback—firstname.lastname@example.org