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Nigeria COVID-19 survivor: 'An experience i do not wish on anyone'

For Oluwaseun Osowobi, the symptoms began shortly after she returned from a visit to London.

The 29-year-old Nigerian activist was within the uk capital to attend on March 9 the legal holiday Service, where she was the official flag bearer.

But after arriving in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, she fell ill and decided to induce tested for COVID-19, the highly infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The test came back positive and Osowobi was taken to a specialised facility to receive treatment. She remained at an isolation ward until last week, when she was discharged following her recovery from COVID-19.

Osowobi, who runs the Stand to finish Rape Initiative, a gaggle advocating against sexual violence, spoke to Al Jazeera about contracting the new coronavirus, her experience at the isolation centre and what she plans to try and do now. The interview below has slightly been edited for brevity and clarity.

Osowobi: It feels great to possess survived COVID-19. If you see the info of individuals who have passed on to the great beyond because of the virus, they're alarming. I'm really grateful to be alive but also grateful for the experience as i'm able to share with those that COVID-19 isn't a hoax like many folks may believe Nigeria.

Osowobi: I had high fever, was coughing heavily and had loss of appetite. I had plenty of symptoms on the COVID-19 list so I knew I had to induce tested just to take care of what matters was because i used to be feeling really sick and wasn't improving.

The virus kicked my system. It made me very weak. i used to be dizzy every second, i used to be throwing up. I lost my sense of taste but my sense of smell heightened so I could smell everything like water, food, even soaps. Everything was just disgusting to me. it absolutely was a really tough period, a really tough moment on behalf of me but i'm happy I beat it.

It was an experience i do not wish anyone to possess.

Al Jazeera: What was running through your mind after you discovered that your test was positive?

Osowobi: the primary thing that came to my mind was, "Am I visiting die?" I feared that am I visiting be one among the people to be counted as dead. i used to be asking myself, "Is Nigeria able to handle matters? Is Lagos state capable to handle the situation as of now?"

I was just very scared.

Al Jazeera: What was the experience with the doctors and nurses at the treatment centre?

Osowobi: it absolutely was good. Despite a really shaky start, we were able to build a relationship as things glided by. i used to be also able to see what quantity they were trying their best to produce top-notch service to everyone at the centre, including myself. I had one doctor's number, so i might text him to inform him of my symptoms or call him if i used to be feeling a specific way.

When I was still vomiting, i might text him to mention, "Help me, i do not want to die." a number of the nurses would are available in and encourage me, say a word of prayer with me.

Al Jazeera: What quite treatment were you given?

Osowobi: i used to be given a pair of medicines to handle COVID-19 and also to handle the side effects of the medications. There was even a time the medication for my vomiting wasn't working, so I had to incline injections to suppress the need to vomit. I had to form a conscious decision to not vomit because I needed to retain the medication inside my system. But the virus was throwing everything out. it absolutely was a battle I won at the top.

Al Jazeera: When did the items change?

Osowobi: I re-examined my survival chances after I started improving by the day. The vomiting had stopped, the stooling had stopped, the dizziness was gradually getting less effective - so it absolutely was a sign i used to be getting well. i used to be really excited. It renewed my hope of surviving this. They were checking my temperature within the morning, afternoon and at the hours of darkness - and it absolutely was improving. My pressure was improving. My pulse was improving. I got my sense of taste back. So, i started to re-evaluate my chances of survival that yes, I could beat this.

Oluwaseun Osowobi coronavirus Nigeria survivor
Al Jazeera: What message does one want to send to folks that haven't yet contracted the virus?

Osowobi: Please wash your hands, sanitise and, importantly, self-isolate.

I can tell you from a first-account experience that you simply should self-isolate; just lodge in home the maximum amount as possible, practice social distancing in order that you're not infecting people must you have the virus and not even are aware of it.

All the social gatherings don't seem to be really important. What's important is your health and your body's capacity to fight any infection or virus. For your body to fight the virus, you furthermore may must equip it with the correct diet and also the right medication.

Al Jazeera: What does one shall do with the experience gained following your recovery?

Osowobi: I hope to stay advocating for the top of stigmatisation because I've realised there's still a form of stigma attached to the difficulty.

So I hope to use my platform to assist to demystify myths around COVID-19 and people who test positive in order that we are able to collectively as a world space support those that are fighting to measure.


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