Every Nigerian by now should know who Patrick Sawyer is — A Liberian – American father of 3 who resides in Minnesota. A diplomat of the Liberian government employed as an Economic consultant — the man who is alleged to have ‘brought’ Ebola into Nigeria.

We were all living in our ‘blissful’ existence worrying about minor things like lack of electricity, hiked school fees, verbal trade offs and impeachment sagas by opposing political parties…and Boko Haram, when on the 25th of July 2014 we heard the news that could potentially change the course of Nigeria’s history. Ebola was in town!

That seems like a lifetime away as events have over taken events:

Patrick Sawyer died.

The hospital was closed down.

The doctor who treated him was found to have contracted the virus.

The hospital matron is down with symptoms.

6 others have been quarantined.

And the big question? How many other people did he come in contact with? Should we be worried?


Accounts say Mr Sawyer’s sister had died of the Ebola virus on Monday July 7, 2014 in Liberia, reports also say he had been with her.

Sawyer had boarded a plane from Togo to Nigeria which had 50 people.

He came in contact with 15 people at the airport.

A driver, liaison officer and protocol officer were on hand to receive him.

He came in contact with 44 people at the hospital.

The hospital is in Lagos, a city of about 21 million people.


Again accounts say Mr Sawyer, after testing negative for malaria and HIV had been asked if he had come in contact with an Ebola victim – he denied this. Other accounts claim Mr Sawyer flew into a rage after being told of his diagnosis, potentially exposing health workers to more risk.


This is one of the two American aid doctors helping in the treatment of Ebola patients in Liberia; When he began to have suspect symptoms, he isolated himself without being prompted, he also called his wife to say goodbye.

What if Sawyer had behaved in this way?


Had the Nigerian Health Ministry put down vital structures and protocols in place to prevent a possible imported case of Ebola when neighbouring countries had reported a outbreak?

If it was not Patrick Sawyer, could it have been anyone else, say John Doe?

All the work, isolation units, protective clothing, awareness etc that is presently being done, why wasn’t it done prior to the outbreak?

Should we in fact thank Patrick Sawyer for exposing the lapses in our healthcare and thereby preventing a much larger and devastating outbreak?

Should we really be mad at Sawyer?

images courtesy christiantoday and lindaIkeji blog

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