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Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (27 October 1956 – 19 August 2014)

Ameyo Adadevoh (born Ameyo Stella Shade Adadevoh; was a Nigerian physician. Her family lineage reinforces her role as a patriot, leader, and heroine. Her paternal great grandfather, Herbert Samuel Macaulay, was a prominent politician and is considered to be the founding father of Nigerian nationalism. He established the first political party and his portrait is on Nigeria’s one naira coin. Her maternal grandfather was the first cousin of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria, a respected modern nationalist, and one of the most revered politicians in Nigerian history. 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.

Adadevoh was born Saturday, 27th October 1956 in Lagos, Nigeria, to Professor Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh  of the Adadevoh family of Anyako Royal House, Ghana and the Crowther/Macaulay family of Lagos, Nigeria and Deborah Regina Mclntosh of the Nnamdi Azikwe family (President of Nigeria 1963-1966) and Smith/Wilkey families of Lagos, Nigeria.

The first of four children, Ameyo began her academic career at Mainland Preparatory Primary School in Yaba, Lagos in 1961. In 1962, her parents temporarily relocated to Boston, Massachusetts in the United States of America where Ameyo spent two years in school. Upon the family’s return to Nigeria in 1964, she continued her education at Corona school Yaba in Lagos, Nigeria until 1968 and then began secondary school at Queens School Ibadan, Nigeria where she finished in 1974 with a distinction of honors in her West African Examinations Council, WAEC, Exams. Following her secondary school education, Ameyo completed one year of preliminary programme studies at the University of Lagos.
In 1980, at the age of 24, Ameyo qualified as a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery(MBBS) degree from the University of Lagos College of Medicine. Upon graduation, she finished a one year mandatory houseman-ship at Lagos University Teaching Hospital and subsequently completed her National Youth Service Corps assignment in 1982 at the Eti-Osa Health centre in Lagos, Nigeria.
Her professional career began with a residency at LUTH from 1983 to 1988 after which she earned the West African College of Physicians and Surgeons credential. Ameyo married Afolabi Emmanuel Cardoso on 26th April 1986 and their union was blessed with a son, Bankole Cardoso on 17th August 1988. Following her residency, Ameyo worked as a consultant at LUTH until 1991 when she earned a prestigious British Council Scholarship to continue her education abroad. From 1991 to 1993, Ameyo completed her fellowship in Endocrinology at Hammersmith Hospital of the Imperial College in London, UK.
Upon completion of her education, she worked for more than two decades doing what she loved best saving lifes. She joined the First Consultants Medical Centre (FCMC) in Obalende, Lagos, Nigeria where she worked for 21 years and became the Lead Consultant Physician and endocrinologist.
Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, as the lead consultant physician and endocrinologist at FCMC in Lagos, Nigeria. She had never seen Ebola before but was able to properly diagnose, contain, and resist pressure to release Nigeria’s index Ebola patient in July 2014. However, because the health system was not prepared for an outbreak at the time, she contracted Ebola and died. Her heroic efforts prevented a major outbreak in the most populous African country and served as the catalyst for government action.

As a result of her keen perception, courage, and steadfastness, all 20 Ebola cases in Nigeria were traced to a single path of transmission originating with the first (index) patient. This is what differentiated the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria from the outbreaks in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Due to her actions, Nigeria was able to contain the virus and the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free on October 20th 2014.

Dr. Adadevoh was a member of the Nigerian Medical Association, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, British-Nigerian Association, Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, 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, among other accomplishments.

In 2012, H1N1 (swine flu) spread to Nigeria and Dr. Adadevoh was the first doctor to diagnose and alert the Ministry of Health. Less than two years later, she was again the first doctor to identify another contagious virus – this one much deadlier than the first.

On July 20th 2014, Patrick Sawyer – Nigeria’s first Ebola patient – left quarantine in Liberia and flew to Nigeria to attend a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He collapsed at the airport in Lagos and was taken to First Consultants Medical Centre (FCMC) where Dr. Adadevoh worked. Under normal circumstances as an ECOWAS official, he might have been taken to a government hospital, but the doctors at all federal facilities were on an indefinite strike because ongoing negotiations with the government failed to meet their requests.

The first doctor at FCMC who saw Mr. Sawyer diagnosed him with malaria. When Dr. Adadevoh saw him during her ward round the following day, she suspected Ebola despite the initial malaria diagnosis and the fact that she, and no other doctor in Nigeria, had never seen Ebola before. Being the thorough clinician she was, Dr. Adadevoh questioned Mr. Sawyer about his worsening symptoms and although he denied having contact with anyone with Ebola, she immediately contacted the Lagos State and federal Ministries of Health and got him tested.

While waiting for the test results, the patient and other Liberian government officials began insisting that Dr. Adadevoh discharge him so he could attend the ECOWAS conference. She refused. They proceeded to threaten to sue her for kidnapping and a violation of human rights (holding him against his will because she did not have a confirmed diagnosis) but she continued to resist their relentless pressure. She understood the importance of containing him.

Lagos State – and Nigeria as a whole – was not ready for Mr. Sawyer. There were no protocols, processes, or equipment in place within the health system to deal with an Ebola patient so Dr. Adadevoh did what she could with the limited resources she had in the hospital. Nigeria had no isolation facility at the time and the infectious diseases hospital in Lagos was not functional, so she worked with officials to create an isolation area in the hospital to continue his treatment. Patrick Sawyer’s Ebola diagnosis was later confirmed, and he died at FCMC.

Dr. Adadevoh’s Ebola diagnosis resulted in the Nigerian government mobilizing the necessary resources to deal with an Ebola outbreak. Her actions allowed for a much more strategic containment of the virus across the country as the Nigerian government was able to successfully trace all possible contacts from the index patient Patrick Sawyer. There were 20 Ebola cases total. 8 were healthcare workers. Of those healthcare workers, 4 survived and 4 died, including Dr. Adadevoh.

She was an extremely dedicated, compassionate, and God-fearing individual. She was a diligent doctor, wife, mother , daughter, sister, aunt, and friend who committed her life to serving humanity.
Her sacrifice prevented a national catastrophe in a country of more than 170 million people. She died of Ebola virus on 19th August, 2014.
Honors and Awards
Awards Year Given By
Posthumous Rotary Award 3rd Oct. 2014 Rotary Club of Abuja-Metro
National and Community Service Award 5 October 2014 Trinity House Church
Honorary Doctorate Degree: Doctor of Letters, Honouris Causa 11 October 2014 Baze University
Nollywood Humanity Award 18 October 2014 Nollywood Movies Awards
Arise Award 25 October 2014 Redeemed Christian Church of God
Posthumous Award 3 November 2014 Women in Management, Business Organizations and Public Service (WIMBIZ)
Exemplary Leadership Award 12 November 2014 Pathcare Laboratories
Distinguished Service Award 15 November 2014 Guild of Medical Directors FCT Abuja
Commemorative Plaque 19 November 2014 Nigerian American Medical Foundation
Nigeria’s Hero of the Year Award 30 November 2014 The Sun Awards
2014 SEC Integrity Award 1 December 2014 Security and Exchange Commission
Number 1 Humanitarian Everyone Should Know About (2014) 11 December 2014 International Medical Corp UK
Woman Who Shaped 2014 22 December 2014 The Guardian
Number 1 Global Thinker of 2014 23 December 2014 Lo Spazio della Politica
Leading Woman of 2014 23 December 2014 CNN
Person of The Year 2014 31 December 2014 Ekekeee
Nigerian of the Year Award 4 January 2015 National Infinity Magazine
Honorary Doctorate Degree: Doctor of Science, Honouris Causa 17 January 2015 National Open University of Nigeria
First Woman 11 March 2015 First Bank of Nigeria
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