Ameyo Adadevoh was born in Lagos, Nigeria in October 1956. She spent the majority of her life in Lagos. Her father and great-grandfather, Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh and Herbert Samuel Macaulay, were both distinguished scientists. Herbert Macaulay was one of the founders of modern Nigeria. Her grandfather was from the Adadevoh family of the Volta Region of Ghana, to which she was very much connected, though she lived in Lagos.Her father Babatunde Kwaku Adadevoh was a physician and former Vice chancellor of the University of Lagos.She was also the grand niece of Nigeria’s first president Nnamdi Azikiwe, as well as a great-great-granddaughter of Sara Forbes Bonettaand a great-great-great-granddaughter of Ajayi Crowther. Adadevoh worked at First Consultant Hospital where a statue of her great-grandfather exists.
Adadevoh went to preschool at the Mainland Preparatory Primary School in Yaba, Lagos (1961-1962). She spent two years in Boston, Massachusetts before moving back with her family to Lagos. She attended primary school at the Corona School, Yaba in Lagos, Nigeria (1964-1968), then the Queen’s School, Ibadan (1969-1974) Nigeria for her secondary school education.
Adadevoh graduated from the University of Lagos College of Medicine with a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery. She served her one-year mandatory housemanship at Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 1981. She spent her residency at Lagos University Teaching Hospital and obtained her West African College of Physicians and Surgeons credential in 1983. She then went to London to complete her fellowship in endocrinology at Hammersmith Hospital. She spent 21 years at the First Consultants Medical Center in Lagos, Nigeria. There, she served as the Lead Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist.
Ameyo Adadevoh married Afolabi Emmanuel Cardoso on April 26, 1986. The couple had one son, Bankole Cardoso.
The Fight Against Ebola
In the year 2014, August 19 precisely, the acronym DRASA was birthed. It was the day an iconic woman, Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, laid her life down for others to be saved from the cold hands of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (DRASA) worked for the First Consultant Clinic, Obalende in Lagos, Nigeria, and she was the first physician to courageously and correctly diagnose the index case of Ebola in Nigeria. A Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer, had arrived in Nigeria through the Lagos airport, and was infected with Ebola. Mr Sawyer, an American-Liberian lawyer, collapsed upon arrival at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos late July, 2014 and was rushed to First Consultant Hospital where Mrs Adadevoh was a Lead Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist. Reports have it that she was neither a virologist nor public-health expert, but her prompt diagnosis identified and contained the index case of Ebola in Nigeria.
Learning of the incident, Liberian officials allegedly threatened DRASA to discharge Mr. Sawyer with immediate effect so he could attend a purported conference in Calabar, the reason he came into Nigeria in the first place. However, foreseeing the danger this would cause other citizens in the country, Dr. Adadevoh and her colleagues: Amos Abaniwo, a doctor; Justina Ejelonu, a nurse; and Evelyn Uko, a nurse aide courageously held Mr. Sawyer hostage and continued to treat him. What selflessness! Her case can be likened to that of the biblical Esther who insisted, “if I perish, I perish provided I save my people.” Dr. Adadevoh damned the consequences of her actions and paid the costly price – contracting Ebola alongside some of her colleagues and ultimate demise. Her actions effectively saved millions of people from the deadly virus, and also enabled the Nigerian healthcare authorities to get a quick hold on the diseases. Obviously, DRASA was fully aware of the grave consequences of her action, but she chose bravery and humanity over her own life.
On August 19, 2015, nearly a month after Mr. Sawyer’s death, Dr. Adadevoh, one of eight people who had primary contact with Mr. Sawyer, passed on. It has been eight years, but her name lives on.
Since 2015, many efforts have been and are still being made by various individuals and institutions to immortalize her. Some of those efforts have resulted in the establishment of the DRASA Health Trust, a non-profit that fosters connections and partnerships between key stakeholders to achieve its core objectives in the areas of public awareness, medical education and simulation training, health policy, and medical research; a posthumous award on October 22, 2017 in recognition of her heroic actions and her exhibition of “highest levels of professionalism,” by the Lagos-based organization, Centre for Intervention Development and Leadership; conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) for her performance in the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus in the country, by the Federal Government of Nigeria; the ECOWAS Prize of excellence that was presented at the 55th Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Abuja Nigeria in 2018; the movie “93 days” that tells the story of the treatment of sawyer at the First Consultant Clinic. The list goes on.
On August 19, 2019, the Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, eulogized the late physician thus: “We celebrate the legacy of Dr. Stella Adadevoh, who died five years ago today (on August 19, 2014). Dr. Adadevoh’s selfless act was integral in Nigeria’s quick control of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. NCDC remains committed to building on her legacy, working with Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), states and partners to prevent epidemics.
The rare sacrifices made by late Dr. Adadevoh deserve to be celebrated every now and then so as to remind the society why some of our brothers and sisters who would have died from Ebola still live, and to encourage others to toe her path. Biografrica celebrates her iconic sacrifice, and therefore saw her worthy enough to grace our African of the Month page.
Long live Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh!
Long live DRASA!