Stella Adadevoh, the physician who prevented the spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria was posthumously honoured at the 2022 International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA).
Ms Adadevoh was awarded the first ever Africa CDC-DRASA continental award for emergency health workers at the three-day conference held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Acting Director, Africa CDC, Ahmed Ouma, said the award recognises the important role of emergency health workers in reducing the spread of infectious diseases and promoting public health in the community.
Mr Ouma said this year’s award was handed to Ms Adadevoh for her contribution in averting the spread of Ebola with her exceptional fearlessness and leadership.
Ms Adadevoh died on August 19, 2014, after contracting Ebola, an infectious virus that causes severe bleeding and organ failure – often leading to a painful death.
She was the physician who discovered that a Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who arrived in Nigeria through the Lagos airport, was infected with Ebola.
Mrs Adadevoh , then 57, and four of her colleagues – Amos Abaniwo, a doctor; Justina Ejelonu, a nurse; and Evelyn Uko, a nurse aide – died after contracting the disease while trying to treat Mr Sawyer and prevent the disease from spreading further.
She has previously received several local and international awards posthumously including receiving the 2018 ECOWAS Prize of Excellence alongside former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
She was also conferred with the National award of Officer of the Order of Nigeria (OON) at the 2022 National Honours Awards.
The 2022 CPHIA brought together heads of African countries, researchers, and experts to discuss public health in the region and proffer possible solutions to the continent’s most significant health challenges.
The three day event, which held from 13-15 December was organised by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda.
The high-level event attracted over 2,500 participants from 90 countries across the continent and beyond.
Public Health Order
At the event, the leaders called for increased investments in African health systems, as well as greater solidarity among nations to achieve the new public health order.
They also appealed for global partnership to advance local manufacturing of health products, strengthen emergency preparedness and response, and expand universal health coverage.
Mr Ouma, the acting director of Africa CDC said various conversations at the conference showcased what leaders are doing to realise the new health order for the region.
He said the new order is a roadmap for sustainable health outcomes and improved health security championed by the African Union and Africa CDC.
He noted that more work is required to ensure equal access to quality healthcare for all.
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“The conversations this week showed that we have come a long way since we launched the order in 2020,” he said.
The State Minister of Health, Rwanda, Yvan Butera, said the government is happy to collaborate with Africa CDC towards implementation of the new public health order
Mr Butera said this covers varied aspects including strengthening institutions for public health, building public health workforce, expanding local manufacturing, increasing domestic investment in health, and promoting strategic partnerships.
According to Africa CDC, the public health order is defined by five pillars, which include strong African public health institutions that represent African priorities in global health governance and that drive progress on key health indicators, and expanded manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics to democratise access to life-saving medicines and equipment.
Other pillars include investments in public health workforce and leadership programmes to ensure Africa has the workforce it needs to address health threats, and increased domestic investment in health and action-oriented partnerships to advance vaccines manufacturing.
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