The House On The Rock Church hosted guests from across Nigeria to an exclusive premiere of the much talked about movie “93 Days” last Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at the Rock Cathedral, Lekki, Lagos.
With the directors of the movie Bolanle Austen-Peters, Dotun Olakunrin and Steve Gukas present, along with notable personalities, guests and other Nollywood stakeholders, the night was indeed a start studded movie Nigerian premier.
While sharing about the movie, senior Pastor of House On The Rock Church, Pastor Paul Adefaransin, laid emphasis on the power of collaboration, a phenomenon that contributed largely to the success of the movie and Nigeria’s conquest against ebola.
Your Excellency’s, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it’s with great pleasure that we welcome you to this home for the advocacy of social justice and national transformation – The Rock Cathedral. This evening it’s our delight to host the film premiere of 93 Days.
On a seemingly innocuous day, Wednesday 20th July 2014, a commercial flight from Liberia ferried a gentleman into the hustle and bustle of Lagos. His entry through the Murtala Muhammed Airport was ordinary, even unremarkable.
Five days later, this gentleman, who arrived from the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, succumbed to the assault of the dreaded virus and died in a private hospital on the Lagos Island. The death of Nigeria’s index patient marked the beginning of a harrowing 13 week-long saga for all Lagosians and invariably all the residents of Nigeria.
The index patient triggered a chain of transmission that would claim the life of 7 more out of a total of 19 infected persons. From this individual, infectious disease experts generated a list of 989 contacts. As noted by authorities, the sheer impact of an Ebola epidemic on a city of 21 million people would have been nothing short of apocalyptic.
Fortuitously, the index patient was admitted at the First Consultants, which proved to be the right hospital for the containment of the potential epidemic raging in his body. The First Consultants, with its culture of fidelity to the Hippocratic oath as well as adherence to best practice in the delivery of public healthcare, proved to be Nigeria’s’ first line of defense against the onslaught of “a virus … that causes the linings of bodily organs and vessels to leak blood and fluids, usually resulting in death”.
History correctly attributes the avoidance of a national catastrophe to the rapid, collaborative and orchestrated response by the Commissioner of Health and the Lagos State Health Management System; The First Consultants Hospital; all the Doctors who put their lives on the line; health and other front line workers and undoubtedly, the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, who after diagnosing and isolating the index patient became a casualty herself.
The battle against the virus was won by scrupulous sanitizing, vigilant and meticulous port-of-entry screening and rapid isolation of suspected infected persons. 18,500 painstaking ‘in person’ follow-up visits were completed in the search to find any new cases of Ebola among the identified contacts. Such ground-level work was extreme, and the World Health Organization, usually measured in its remarks, described the feat as “a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work”.
Over a century ago, Charles Darwin said “In the long history of humankind…those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”. This quote underscores the crux of the exploit accomplished in Nigeria, where faced with potential disaster, the people marshalled the inherent power of collaboration across racial, religious, ethnic, political and socio-economic divides, and averted what could have been a global catastrophe.
Nigeria’s healthcare professionals rose to the occasion and demonstrated their proficiency, adherence to protocols and ability to contain and defuse a virulent time bomb. We must applaud these exemplary citizens who deserve our utmost, unreserved commendation.
As advocated by the World Health Organization, to prevent potential outbreaks in the future, Nigeria must develop strong surveillance systems, rapid response capacity and effective survivor care and screening. Our healthcare systems must be “continually guided by an all-hazards health emergency approach,” even as we ensure that our health workforce is developed, trained, retained and reskilled to prepare for and respond to emergencies with health consequences.
We salute the entire cast of 93 days – Bimbo Akintola, Danny Glover, Tim Reid, Gideon Okeke, Bimbo Manuel, Charles Okafor, Keppy Ekpenyong Bassey, Somekele Idhalama, Adebola Williams and Mackenzie Alastair – for delivering a stellar performance and reliving, for our viewing pleasure, the gut-wrenching 93 day race against time. The acting was remarkable and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried through most of the movie.
To Steve Gukas – the movie director, to Bolanle Austen-Peters and Dotun Olakunrin – the executive producers; you make Nigerians truly proud. The screenplay was fabulous, the production world class and the character portrayal phenomenal. On behalf of brand Nigeria, permit me to say – very well done.
To the Nigerian movie industry – you’ve come of age. Your art will help us reshape the nation’s value systems and reset our cultural norms for progress, development and a national sense of purpose. We expect much more from the crucible of your collaborative endeavors… let’s together arise and reshape the future with the powerful medium of storytelling through movie making.
To His Royal Highness, The Invisible God, the Greatest Father we know, thank you for all that you are and all that you do and for teaching us that faith in you was never meant to be lived on the periphery of the world but rather instead to stand tall in the center, as light to the world.
 Courage, Katherine Harmon (October 2014). “How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?” Scientific American.
 Encarta Dictionary English (U.K.)
 The Scientific American
 Ebola: ending the current outbreak, strengthening global preparedness and ensuring WHO’s capacity to prepare for and respond to future large-scale outbreaks and emergencies with health consequences