Covid-19: My return from the valley of death-Gender activist


Osowobi Oluwaseun Ayodeji


By Nehru Odeh

Hers is an incredible story. A gender activist and founder, Stand to End Rape, a non-governmental organization, she is known for her incredible work and commitment not just to rape victims in Nigeria but also for her fight to end the scourge. A multiple award-winner with a huge presence both in the local and international civil society circuits, she was the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019. She has also been nominated in the category of “Best in Activism” for the 2020 Shorty Awards.

Recently she visited London, United Kingdom, where she was invited as the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019 to lead the procession of Her Majesty, the Queen of England, the Royal Family, and other notable figures in the Commonwealth during the 2020 Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey, London. Earlier in March 2020, she had attended the 2020 Commonwealth Youth Awards to offer guidance and support to the new winners. While in London, she was so excited and in high spirits to be holding up the flag representing her continent, her country and about 640 million young people who are citizens of the Commonwealth.

But that was when disaster struck. Yet little did she know she had contracted coronavirus. On her return to Nigeria she started showing signs of the disease. “I thought I was going to die,” she said. And I  put a call through to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC,” whose officials came one morning to pick her up to undergo tests and treatment.

This is the amazing recovery story of Osowobi Oluwaseun Ayodeji, the gender activist,  who having recovered from coronavirus has been narrating on social media how she successfully beat the virus and tested positive twice following treatment at Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

Let’s read her incredible story here: 

Life finds ways of throwing LEMON at me. I’ve struggled with coming forward, but I want to inspire hope.

I returned to Nigeria from the UK post-Commonwealth event (I totally enjoyed) and fell ill. As a responsible person, I self-isolated.


Before returning, I had planned several interviews, I was scheduled to start a fantastic consultancy job and was also expecting to sign a contract worth millions.

I lost them all!!!

I had to self-isolate and also inform people I came in close contact with to get tested. #COVID19

My friend and I kept calling @NCDCgov to get tested. What if we didn’t persist?

No information on my test result. At 12am, an ambulance was at my house. I woke from sleep and was crying. I got to isolation center, but no one was there to receive me. I waited in the ambulance for TWO HOURS.

The nurses eventually came out and treated me like a plague. I sat in the ambulance feeling rejected.

No questions about how I felt. So many questions about my travel history. Same information I had provided to NCDC and Lagos State Government during profiling.

Lack of data sharing!

After two hours, I was taken to my space.

I felt lonely, bored and disconnected from the outside world.

Few days after, another patient came in. We bonded. Days later, patients trooped in.

“Are people observing self-isolation and social distancing?” I was so scared for Nigeria.

The next days were tough. No appetite. The nausea, vomit and stooling was unbearable. I’m a blood type A #COVID19 dealt with me.

I’ll share daily symptoms and recovery process in a video tomorrow.

I thought I was going to die and contemplated a succession plan for @StandtoEndRape.

I was on drugs daily. Sometimes, I‘d take eight tablets in the morning, 13 tablets in the afternoon, 10 at night. My system threw everything out!

Water, food, soap and all disgusted me. But I’d look at the wall and force myself to stay hydrated — drank ORS. I FOUGHT TO LIVE! I FOUGHT!!

Days after, the doctors shared a goodnews that I tested negative. I shared this news with family and friends! My blood sample was taken and I also tried to donate my plasmapheresis to help others. I hoped to be discharged.

I waited to be discharged, but for two days, nothing happened.

I was unsure of what was going on. Why haven’t I been discharged? Should I be in the same ward? Could I get reinfected? I was worried but remained calm.

On the third day, doctord said, “well, we worked with the info we had of you testing negative, but one result came back positive.”

“…You’ll stay a few more days. You know we take nose, mouth and sputum samples.”

“Am I still positive?” I asked.

“No, you’re negative,” the Doctor replied.

The doctor apologised for the delay. I was anxious to go home but remained calm.

I wanted to be free from this pain.

I continued the medication and asked to be in a separate ward. Sadly, I remained in the same ward as all others rooms were full.

My ward had people who were positive. What if I get re-infected?

For them, I was a beacon of hope and they needed me gone to register the progress.

My family and friends were becoming anxious.

People in my ward who earlier celebrated the news of my result suddenly lost hope.

“Why are you still here?”

“You shouldn’t be here with us. You should be separated from us now…”

People in my ward muttered.

I tried to calm them.

Today, I am PROUD to inform you that I MURDERED COVID-19 and have tested NEGATIVE TWICE! I HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED!

I bless God for His mercies.

The nurses at IDH Yaba were fabulous. They deserve accolades for their hardwork.

Thank you Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu for coming to see me.

Thanks to @ProfAkinAbayomi, the health team at IDH + Lagos State. The food was good!

Thanks to @dondekojo for helping me get help. Thanks to my chat buddy, @akintonmide.

Thank you @KelechiAFC & @lailajohnsonsal for the mental & material support.

They protected my identity!

Thanks to everyone who called, sent messages and tried to contact me. I am grateful and well.

This experience reminded me of the value of friendship. Some people I refer to as friends speculated about this, but never reached out to check. Thank you still. Back to the grind!

Huge thanks to my family, @Triciabiz  Sola Odetola who were my backbone.

Some stigmatised me based on a PUNCH article with subtle messages like “why did she come back to Nigeria?”

Nigeria is my home.

Coronavirus is NOT a death sentence. People can survive and I HAVE!

We should encourage people to get tested & stop the stigma.

Practise social distancing and stop the spread.

@NCDCgov and State Governments need to improve their testing capacity. Test mild/asymptomatic cases too.

Sending strength to everyone who is fighting to beat #COVID19.

To every young person out there, please give your lungs a chance to beat this. Can I encourage you to stop smoking and live a healthy life at this time? Keeping healthy lungs is KEY!

This is another phase of my life and I HAVE won! I celebrate my resilience and strength.

Call me SURVIVAYO she concluded.

She was discharged today from Yaba isolation center.