Five of the nine survivors of the dreaded Ebola Virus Diseases, EVD, yesterday at the Lagos House, met with Lagos State governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola,
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.
Recounting his own experience, one of the survivors and staff of the First Consultants Hospital, Obalende, where the index Ebola Virus case, Patrick Sawyer, was attended to before he died, Dr. Ibeabuchi Morris, said he was the first to receive the late Sawyer into the hospital adding that the patient, who according to him, did not disclose that he collapsed at the Lagos Airport, was first treated of Malaria.
He said after the patient continued to manifest high temperature, he took the blood sample and sent it to the laboratory, then contacted Dr. Stella Adadevoh who advised him to continue attending to the patient pending the arrival of the test result adding that when the blood test result arrived it was confirmed that he was EVD positive leading to his death a few days later.
On his part, Dr. Ibeabuchi disclosed that he started manifesting symptoms of the disease 12 days later as his body temperature continued to rise beyond 38.5 degrees Celsius adding that when his condition continued to degenerate, he reported to the Lagos State Ministry of Health and was advised to restrict his contact with members of his family.
According to him, his body temperature got to an all time high of over 40 degrees at which point the Medical team from Lagos State came and took him to the isolation centre after decontaminating his house. He thanked the Lagos State Government and all the other agencies and individuals who took care of him and made it possible for him to survive.
Another survivor, Dr. Adaora Igonoh, thanked the Lagos State Governor and the Government for their dedication in the battle to contain the spread of the disease which, according to her, made it possible for some victims, including herself to survive the virus.
Dr. Igonoh, who is also a staff of First Consultants Hospital, commended the hospital and the staff for the risk they took to ensure that the disease did not spread beyond the limit it did. She also paid tribute to those who lost their lives in that process adding that without their sacrifice, the story would probably have been different.
Also giving his testimony, Mr. Dennis Akagha, husband to Mrs. Justina Akagha, a nursing staff of First Consultants Hospital who died days after attending to Patrick Sawyer, said he got to hear about his wife’s contact with Sawyer when the death of the Liberian was announced on television adding that his wife confirmed that she treated the victim.
He said when the symptoms of the disease started manifesting in his wife they first thought it was pregnancy induced or Malaria because his wife told him she wore protective gloves while attending to Sawyer adding that it was on the 14th day when his wife’s condition worsened that he took her to the First Consultants from where he was directed to the Isolation Centre in Yaba where his wife later passed on.
He disclosed that he did not immediately go to hospital when he started manifesting the symptoms until he started vomiting and feeling dehydrated adding that he was finally taken to the Isolation Centre where he was treated and discharged after he tested negative of the virus.
Other survivors who gave testimonies were Dr. Fadipe Akinniyi, also a staff of First Consultants Hospital and Dr. (Mrs.) Kelechi Emenuo, wife of late Dr. Emenuo, who treated one of Mr. Sawyer’s companions in Port Harcourt and later died of the disease. All the survivors paid glowing tribute to the Lagos State Governor for his commitment and dedication towards containing the spread of the disease and ensuring the survival of some of the victims.
In his remarks, after the testimonies of the survivors, Governor Fashola, who noted that the Ebola Virus Disease incident was not the first and may not be the last infectious disease that would afflict the nation, said the experience has also helped to know more about the EVD adding that aside knowing that it is not a death sentence, the gestation period of 21 days has also been identified.
According to him, “This is the first time that the disease is breaking in an urban centre and this has helped and will help research into this deadly virus. For example, it is through research over time that it came to be known that the virus has 21 days gestation period and that it has various strains”.
Governor Fashola commended the survivors for the courage they have shown in coming forward to speak about their experience adding that their testimonies would help the Government to further enlighten the citizenry that people actually survived the disease and would also stem the stigmatization of survivors.
The Governor also thanked all the individuals and organizations that stood by the State Government in the efforts to stem the spread of the disease, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Diseases Control Centre, the Federal Government and other health workers.
Reiterating that the last contact person under surveillance would be confirmed fit and discharged midnight Thursday September 18, 2014, Governor Fashola said the next step forward for the Government would be to identify and help reinstate businesses that have suffered loss during and as a result of the efforts to contain the disease in the State.
Earlier in his opening address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said the reason behind the invitation of the survivors was principally to stem the stigmatization of patients who have been treated and confirmed Ebola virus negative adding that the testimonies given by the survivors would go a long way to remove fear and ignorance about the disease.
He said Government also wanted to appreciate the efforts and sacrifice the survivors have made in the concerted drive to contain the disease as well as the trauma they went through while in isolation adding that the people of Lagos in particular and Nigeria in general would remain grateful to them.
Also present at the occasion were the Chief of Staff, Mr. Lanre Babalola, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olusola Oworu, Her Establishment, Training and Pension and Special Duties counterparts, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase and Dr. Wale Ahmed and Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Yewande Adeshina, among other members of the State Executive Council, Permanent Secretary Primary Healthcare Board, Lagos, Dr. Kayode Oguntimeyin representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical personnel and stakeholders in the battle against the EVD.