Seven out of ten Nigerians not confident in Capacity of their local Hospitals to manage Ebola


We will be surprised if there is a Nigerian out there that has not yet heard about the Ebola virus. It’s on Radio, TV, Facebook, Twitter. There are jokes, rumours of cures and miracles and, sadly, a few real deaths. Our government has responded by providing daily updates. State governments all over the country are setting up “Ebola Response Committees”. Hand sanitizers have sold out across the country. Procurement processes using the recently released “Ebola money” of N1.9B is being used to buy thermo scanners, personal protective equipment and incinerators. So, with all this attention, we thought it important to find out from you – the people that matter most – what you know, and how confident you are that our systems can cope. To do this, we partnered with NOIPolls Limited, the premier polling organisation in Nigeria, to conduct a representative survey across Nigeria.

Our results: not surprisingly, most of you have heard about the Ebola virus.

Also, most of you now know that Ebola is transmitted by body fluids only.

Almost half of you (43%) are not confident that the Ministry of Health and its agencies are able to protect Nigerians from Ebola, and even more people (72%) doubt that local hospitals are able to deal with an Ebola outbreak.

Our results are based on telephone interviews by NOIpolls of a proportionate random nationwide sample. These interviews were conducted in the week of 11th to 15th August 2014. About 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians adults aged 18 years and above, across the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages. Find a full report here.

Are we surprised at these findings? No – and we guess neither are you. The constant medical migration to India and other countries is no longer news. There has not been a period in contemporary Nigerian history where the health sector has been in the news as frequently as it is at present. Herein lies an opportunity to return health to the centre of public dialogue and, maybe then, we can find the leadership that will take our health sector into the 21st century.

Finally, the death of Dr. Stella Adedevoh has caught the attention of the Nigerian people due to her very brave response while most doctors in the public sector were strike. It has been reported that Dr. Adedevoh insisted that Patrick Sawyer does not leave the hospital where he first presented. While physically hindering him from leaving and providing clinical care, she contracted the virus herself. We shudder to imagine what would have happened if he had left the hospital while being infectious with Ebola. Here we would like to share the moving tribute from Mike Cooke who remembered Stella from 20 years ago. Dr. Adedevoh represents the very best of the medical profession, to whom the Hippocratic really  meant a life-time commitment to patients.

Tribute to Dr. Stella Adedevoh by Mike Cooke:

It was with considerable shock that I heard of the death of Stella Adedevoh in tragic circumstances. I was working in Nigeria in the mid nineties and my office was in First Consultants in Lagos. Stella’s office was next door. It was my first year in Nigeria and I found Lagos difficult to cope with initially. Stella was one of those who made you feel at home and had a happy attractive countenance and a fun approach. For over nearly a year we exchanged much happy banter and before I left I started work on an “Ode” in rhyming couplets which had the opening line: – “The nicest doctor that I know In Lagos is Adedevoh ……………..”

When it comes to hammering the patella, there’s no one’s better than Dr Stella.

She and I were able to share memories of London Teaching Hospitals, me “The London” and Stella “The Hammersmith” where she had studied endocrinology. I was glad that I discovered that Nigeria had a host of people like Stella Adedevoh who made being in Nigeria a pleasure.

I am sure she will be greatly missed.

Dr. Adedevoh in a red dress during a Christmas Function with Dr. Ohieri

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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