In the early days of the covid-19 pandemic, as countries around the world faced the first wave of infections, Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo caught the virus. “While I was able to recover at home, I saw firsthand — not just as a photographer, but as a patient — the enormous challenge facing Nigeria’s health services,” he said.

This series of portraits is Esiebo’s homage to these services. “It’s for the selfless sacrifices they made to Nigeria,” said Esiebo, whose goal was to show the unimaginable struggles of these medical workers “who endure everything from inadequate resources to poor welfare and the social stigmatization” that comes with being a coronavirus front-line worker. Yet, as the photographer met with them, he was stricken by how unfazed they remain as “they put their lives on the line day-after-day to help Nigeria overcome this global pandemic,” he added.

Esiebo felt it was important to show each worker in the clothes they wore before going to “battle,” he said. “And placing a halo of color on the walls of the spaces where they performed their duties reflects their sacred role and sacrifice.”

Through these portraits, the photographer also hopes to create an echo to the front-line workers’ calls for the public to play their part in controlling the pandemic in Nigeria where too many people are still not wearing masks or observing social distancing rules when less than 2 million people have been vaccinated.

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