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Alfa Saadu: Nigerian doctor who died of coronavirus after leaving retirement to save lives

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Coronavirus remains untamed and uncurbed while rendering no good to humanity -it continues to kill the young, old, rich, poor and many ‘living legends(s)’ across different nations of the world.

With no cure discovered yet, the disease declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is unrelenting in its spread across the world, leaving in its wake, stories of outright pain and anguish.

For the family of Alfa Saadu, coronavirus has left a wound that may not completely heal.

“My dad was a living legend, worked for the NHS for 40 years saving people’s lives here and in Africa,” son of Dr Alfa Saadu, Dani, said in a Facebook about his father who died of coronavirus.

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Saadu, a 68-year-old native of Kwara State, Nigeria, died on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, where he lived for over forty years.

The doctor, who grew up in Kwara state, moved to the UK when he was 12 years old and worked for most of his career in the UK, with a stint of teaching at a hospital in Nigeria.

The former medical director at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, was one of 563 people across the UK to die on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus.

Saadu worked for the NHS for decades and retired in 2017 but carried on working part-time at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire.

The doctor was not working on the frontline fighting the coronavirus pandemic when he contracted the virus.

“Up until he got sick, he was still working part-time saving people,” Saadu’s son said, “He had been fighting the virus for two weeks but he could not fight any more.”

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Chief executive of the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust Lance McCarthy said Dr Saadu was “well-known” and will be fondly remembered for his passion for the job.

“Alfa was well-known at the trust for his passion for ensuring our patients received high-quality care. He was a committed member of the team and is remembered fondly by many.”

While living in the UK, Dr Saadu was the chairman of KWASANG UK, an association for the diaspora from his home state and a community leader in Pategi, the small town he spent his childhood.

In his tribute, former president of the Nigerian Senate Bukola Saraki described the late doctor as a leader who will missed.

“Late Dr Saadu provided leadership for our people in the diaspora as he served for many years as chairman, Kwara State Association of Nigeria (Kwasang UK),” Saraki tweeted.

“Back at home, he was a community leader and traditional office holder as Galadima of Pategi. He will be sorely missed.”

Saraki, also a former governor of Kwara State, prayed that “Allah forgive his sins and grant him a place in Aljannah Firdaus” and “grant his family, the people of Pategi and Kwara State the fortitude to bear the loss.”

Like Dr Saadu, over 45,000 other people have died from coronavirus disease with over 800,000 infected. Despite the daily increase in the figures, many people still do not believe that the disease is real or should be taken seriously.

“The coronavirus is not a joke, please take it seriously and listen to the government,” Dr Saadu’s son said.

“Please stay safe and protect your loved ones, nothing is more important.”


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