So, how do we begin to explain to a people as deeply religious as Nigerians that we have nothing against Dr. Stella Immanuel (real name: Gwandiku-Ambe). We actually do not. You see, we are Nigerians and our default setting is distrust.
When we hear things that sound really wild and crazy; we remember how snakes swallowed money running into millions of naira in Nigeria; undisclosed sums of money were found sunk in septic tanks; also COVID-19 had become the new cash cow for thieving Nigerian politicians.
We know how it is with us much as we sincerely wish it could be otherwise. But experience does not make it any better or easier. In fact, it forces us to ask those questions which some of us seem to not be too comfortable with us asking. But we will.
We remember all too clearly how a simple but ardent WhatsApp message sent Nigerians into a salt bathing frenzy in 2015; with resultant mortalities as all caution was thrown to the winds; all in the bid to try out this brand new “miracle cure” for Ebola.
Again, when we worry about this Dr. Stella “Immanuel”; it is for no other reason other than we are reluctant to watch Nigeria’s name being dragged around and sullied in the mud when the plot begins to unravel – as it is bound to.
But 350/350 pandemic survival rate is almost unheard of from a small clinic; one tucked away in a mall somewhere in Houston. It is of almost miracle like proportions. It is enough to give one pause for thought; enough to wonder not only where this good Dr. Stella got the hydroxychloroquine she prescribed in such quantities from; plus how come she is not being celebrated as a Covid-19 rising star.
Even Nigeria that we had hoped a combination of factors would help to reduce fatalities even in the immune-compromised; still manages to produce a couple of deaths every now and often. Also bear in mind that this is Nigeria; where we do not need doctor’s prescription to access the most potent of medications; where nearly everyone and their dogs have a covert Ph.D in orthodox and unorthodox medicine.
100% survival rate? Wow!
Also, bear in mind that we are speaking about America; a country where your PCP is quick to refer you to an urgent care facility; or reroute your call to the emergency services if you present with non-routine symptoms? It is kind of hard to imagine one calling in to his PCP; with all the classic symptoms of Covid-19 or even worse; underlying comorbidity symptoms and being encouraged to just go home and drink hydroxychloroquine.
I look again at images of the good doctor’s practice and find it almost unbelievable that she has a 20-bed capacity in that space. Maybe not even a five-bed capacity.
Imagine the huge sigh of relief I heaved when it turned out she was Cameroonian? I was ready to go to a four-way junction and sacrifice to the gods of Corona; for allowing this cup to pass over us. God knows that we do not need the added burden of being known for pulling wild figures; randomly out of the air in front of international TV; all the while heaping curses on our colleagues who refuse to accept our wild claims as fact.
For me, the issue was even worsened by the fact that her colleagues around her soon began to feel uncomfortable and discomfited by her “passion”. You could see they had this drama all planned out. But they did not expect her to catch this much fire. I wager that none of the other doctors who stood behind her smiling sheepishly; would accept to put their careers and reputations on the line for political capital; one that would not even accrue to them.
Why the black (wo)man?
And in order to prevent rational questions from being asked; we begin to hear stories that sound a little bit like they are from the twilight zone. Stuff such as “big pharma this and that”.
Pray tell, who produces hydroxychloroquine, zinc, remedesivir and azythromycin?
And then “they want to kill me so that I will not reveal the truth blablabla”.
Methinks the solution to this conundrum is quite simple. Let this lady choose an admix of her peers and permit them study her claimed 350 cases. Thereafter, let them access the regimen she subjected them to; the same one that produced a 100% recovery rate in all her patients; irrespective of their age and pre-existing conditions.
We all want this coronavirus scourge to go away not so?
We have already lost a year and a lot of emotional, physical, financial and psychological space to this thing.
The earlier we can get rid of it, the better.
If Dr. Stella Immanuel claims to have a 100% success rate; then she should subject her methods to clinical trials so they can be replicated on a larger scale; say in Texas at the first instance. When Texas records a 100% success rate; then it can be extended to the entire America and from there to the world.
By standing in the way of the Ebola vector from Liberia; Dr. Stella Ameyoh Adadevoh engraved her name in the sands of time; as one amazon who was ready to pay the ultimate price for the safety of her fellow compatriots.
Enter another Stella, also a Doctor.
Enter another chance for a black woman to engrave her name in the annals of history; while even getting to stay alive while doing this.
Stop ranting and throwing curses Dr. Stella Immanuel. This may not be the way out for the entire world. You have the failsafe cure for Covid, the world wants it. Head up a global Covid response team and produce a 90% success rate. Don’t even do 100%.
Go ahead ma’am, your reputation and career is at stake.
In all these, I just thank God for one thing: this Dr. Stella Immanuel, is NOT a Nigerian.
Thank God for little mercies.