FIVE out of nine survivors of the dreaded Ebola Virus Diseases,
EVD, yesterday, met with Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, and some members of the State’s Executive Council, SEC, where they recounted their experiences.
They include Dennis Akagha, husband of late Justina, a nurse at First Consultant Hospital, Dr Fadipe Akinniyi, Dr. Ibeawuchi Morris, Dr. Adaowa Igowoh and Kelechi Enemuo, wife of late Dr. Iyke Samuel Enemuo, who died of EVD in Port Harcourt.
Three of the survivors who are staff of First Consultant Hospital, contracted the virus from the index case, late Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who brought in the disease into Nigeria on July 20, 2014.
Dr. Igowoh, who was the first to recount her ordeal, described yesterday as a glorious day in her life. She said, “it is a day of joy. I want to say that we are here today because of God. It was He that made us to survive. We are privileged to see this day and to be here with everybody, it is an honour. Thank you so much Governor Fashola, we can’t thank you for everything. We at First Consultants Medical Centre took a risk, we risked our lives because we knew that we wanted to ensure the safety of Lagosians, Nigerians and humanity because we are a global village; from a small village it can spread to the world and we knew the implications, but we said we would risk our lives and we would not let the index case leave the hospital.”
Dr Akinniyi: “I am most happy here today because as matter of fact, when everyone was running helter-skelter, I told myself I only opened the door and by the virtue of that, nothing should happen to me. I never knew I was deceiving myself, until the day I recorded my temperature and there was a kind of spike. I told myself what is going on. Once I have treated malaria a while ago and I told myself that it could be malaria. I used anti malaria drugs but nothing changed, rather it was getting worse.Eventually, I went to a private hospital to treat myself because I did not want to admit it was Ebola. I felt they would be able to proffer solutions to all my problems but it wasn’t to be so. Rather, it was becoming terrible and I started stooling and vomiting. I summoned the courage and called the doctors at the monitoring units that my temperature has been persistently high.”
Dennis: “I really want to appreciate and commend everything you have done. My case was different, I wasn’t among the doctors, my wife, Justina Echelonu Obioma happened to be one of the nurses that cared for the index case. She got contact with the index case, when she came back home, she told me. We didn’t know what was happening because she was having symptoms. She was two months pregnant. She was feeling feverish. Infact that was her first day on the job, it was her first day and her first patient was Patrick Sawyer. She just resumed that day, I encouraged her to go to work, but she was reluctant because of her situation, but I had to convince her to go and tell them in the Hospital about her condition so that they can give her more time. That was just the first day. When she came back, the following day she went to work again, then the next two days, she was off. We were just at home when the case was announced the case of Sawyer and she told me that she cared for him at the hospital and I asked her if she was sure about what she said, because we have been hearing about it. I asked her what kind of contact she had with him and she said she used protective gloves. Hearing that, I felt rest assured.”
Morris Ibeawuchi: “I was the person that received Patrick Sawyer the day he was rushed to First Consultant Medical Centre. It was like a joke. I did not know what came upon me that day. Unlike me, I was so reluctant to attend to him. But I was compelled by my colleagues to attend to him. When I got there, I was just talking to him. It was very unlike me. Being a doctor, you must examine your patient. After due examination, I asked him some questions. But Patrick Sawyer lied to me, even the ECOWAS Protocol Officer, who sat there, kept quiet.
Collapse at airport
“He asked him why he was in First Consultant. He lied to me that he was in a conference and felt so weak. As a result, people now rushed him to First Consultant not knowing that he collapsed at the airport. On that very day, the ECOWAS Protocol Officer was there and did not say anything. After sometime, I took his samples and sent it to the lab. I also informed Dr. Adadevoh (now of blessed memory).I informed her. She told me to get back to her as soon as the result is out. When the result came out, everything was normal. But that night, the liver function test was not available. I told Dr. Adadevoh about MP result, and she was so confused and shivering because the man came in with a temperature of 39.7.
“She said I should just admit him. We treated him. We commenced with the malaria treatment. The next morning, Dr. Adadevoh came around and we all went there. At that time, the liver function test was already out and the result was so terrible. That made us to be so concerned. After we went around, Dr. Adadevoh went for her daily clinic. It was at that point that one of the ECOWAS officers now came in and brought us information that Patrick Sawyer collapsed at the airport. After that, she asked whether I got the information. That was how the whole thing started. From there, we instituted barrier nursing technique. She tried as much as possible to get through to the Lagos State Ministry of Health. Again, I was asked to get Sawyer’s sample.”
Fashola: However, Fashola, who called for one minute silence for those who lost their lives to EVD, commended the courage of the survivors by coming out to the public to share their experiences and damning possible stigmatization.
He stated: “We sympathize with you for the trauma that you went though. Perhaps it was avoidable. But I am sure that hard lessons have been learnt. Beyond that, I must congratulate you the survivors of the EVD. I felicitate with you and members of your family and friends. But most importantly, I thank you so much for coming forward because you took a great thing and you showed so much courage. And you have helped us to take next step forward. And you have helped us to put an end to the spread of the EVD.”