by Segun Odeleye
Since the deadly Ebola disease came into the shores of Nigeria following the entry of a Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer, yesterday brought the best news yet. A patient, Dr. Ada, a 26-year-old medical officer in the First Consultants Hospital in Obalende, Lagos, was declared as fully recovered and discharged from the isolation ward of the Infectious Diseases Hospital.
This was a major milestone in Nigeria as no other victim of the disease in the country has recovered. Four people have died so far in the country – the aforementioned Patrick Sawyer, two nurses who attended to Sawyer, as well as a protocol officer with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), who received him in Nigeria when he arrived.
A Thisday report said that the Dr. Ada was a newly wed who was immediately abandoned by her husband when she became one of the first Nigerians to test positive to the virus after Sawyer’s death. However, a source told The Scoop that she was not newly wed but a divorcee.
Her recovery however now offers hope to other victims as the antibodies present in her blood system, which successfully fought off the Ebola virus, could now be used in the treatment of others.
Dr. Ada was the first person that saw Sawyer when he arrived the hospital. Sawyer told her he had Malaria and never told her he was coming from Liberia where he had been in contact with his sister who died of Ebola.
On the second day when Sawyer did not show sign of recovery from malaria despite the aggressive treatment, Dr. Ada and others at First Consultants became concerned. She then invited her boss, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, the senior consultant at the hospital, who immediately suspected Ebola and ordered for test.
According to Thisday:
In one of the several incidents with the deteriorating Sawyer within 24 hours, he became restive and dropped his drip bag on the floor and called for assistance. And when the nurse came, he told her that he wanted to see the doctor and not the nurse. When the doctor arrived, she found the drip bag on the floor. She then assisted him to reset the drip without gloves and protective clothing. That may have been the moment of contact with Sawyer’s fluid.
The female doctor’s recovery is seen as a giant step towards providing a deeper understanding of how to manage Ebola patients for Nigerian doctors and the US Centre for Disease Control’s personnel assisting them. Her recovery, THISDAY gathered, was because of her strong immune system, which was boosted by supportive drugs, that is a cocktail of antibiotics and immune boosting drugs.
The cheery news of Ada’s recovery was announced yesterday by the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, at a press briefing held at Yaba Psychiatry, Lagos. Chukwu also said that at present, five of the other confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria had almost fully recovered.
The minister said the current statistics of confirmed cases of EVD in Nigeria had risen to 12, while the number of deaths due to EVD remained four – comprising the index case, two health workers and a protocol officer working with ECOWAS. He noted that the number of persons under surveillance in Lagos was now 189 and the number of persons under surveillance in Enugu was six.
“The patients under treatment have now been moved to the new 40-bed capacity isolation ward provided by the Lagos State Government and at present five of the confirmed cases of EVD have almost fully recovered,” Chukwu disclosed.