Four years later, the African Union has remembered to present me and my colleagues with medals of honor for stopping Ebola in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.
I dedicate this to Dr. Stella Adadevor and Justina Ejelonu -you guys are the real heroes. You died for us all.
Adadevor stopped Sawyer. He made calls. She also made calls; pulling the right strings to stop him from plunging into the population and spreading the deadly virus.
She contracted Ebola in the process and died a most painful death. It was like self-sacrifice. She had organ failures, kidney shutdown, multiple seizures and stroke, profuse bleeding, heart failure and later on, death. She died for Nigeria.
Adadevor has not been properly honored by her country whereas every year politicians troop into Abuja to share national honors for doing practically nothing - whereas real heroes are ignored.
Nurse Justina Ejelenu worked with Adadevor and also contracted the disease in the line of duty. She died without doing anything for herself or her family. No one remembers her.
We arrived Abuja after six months of risking our lives in West Africa to stop the menace a few days after (President Goodluck) Jonathan had lost the presidential election in 2015.
No one paid any attention to us any longer. All the initial plans to honor us was thrown out of the window.
The new regime took no interest whatsoever and to date, not even a handshake from a local government chairman, not to talk of some financial gift.
Politicians share billions (of naira) each time they are leaving office after mindless self-help to the national purse. Yet, those who worked for the nation are never rewarded.
This regime has not as much as said a word to us talk less of recognizing our contributions.
The day we arrived at Sierra Leone everyone was happy. They said we were from Nigeria and we had the magic.
They sent us to worst-hit areas and we went to duty patriotically. We did our best and Ebola stopped. The country took the whole accolade without even saying a word to us.
The African Union has casually tossed medals to us without any ceremony. I went to Port Harcourt to pick up my piece from a junior staff of the state's ministry of health who asked me to sign off on a piece of paper and be gone.
There were only two persons in the room. Nobody bothered with me. It was even the staff who told me that some people who picked up the medal earlier had tested it and that it was not even real gold; so it's probably worthless.
I spent my money and time to pick a piece of garbage after risking my life for Africa. I felt like a fool while leaving dejectedly.
This reminds me of my experience in the field.
An American passed out while we were on duty and I helped to resuscitate him. He was later diagnosed with Ebola and I quarantined myself. A few days later I developed a fever and noticed blood in my stool.
I asked my colleagues to send a letter to the African Union that I might have contracted the deadly disease. To date, I never got any response. I stayed in self-quarantine for 21 days without a word from Africa that I was fighting for.
My contemporary was airlifted to the US in a matter of moments but I survived by the grace of God or sheer luck. Never spoken to. Never tested. Never nothing. Being African is shitty. I don’t know if am a survivor or not. I just know that my life is worth nothing
I dedicate this medal, though probably worthless to healthcare workers from Africa who died for their continent but were never appreciated or even recognized.
I live in hope that one day our land shall experience the kind of leadership that would value those who sacrifice for her and reward those who make genuine efforts.
For now, am just in severe pains.
God bless Africa
God bless Nigeria
N. Mcginger Ibeneme (MBBS)