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Flying Doctors Founder, Olamide Orekunrin Just Keeps Soaring.

 Olamide Orekunrin

She didn’t grow under the care and nurture of her biological parents, but was fostered to Caucasian parents. Even in the less than affluent foster home, she flourished. And then her biological sister died because she couldn’t access the needful medical expertise urgently. Life has dealt her many uppercuts but somehow, she is still here, still standing and excelling in her every pursuit. Ola Orekunrin is her name, and she is the founder of Flying Doctors, Nigeria; West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service.

Ola FD1a

The Ekiti-born 27 year-old doctor was the definition of a ‘nerd’ as a child, growing up in the little town of Lowestoft in the United Kingdom. She studied so much that she ran out of textbooks to read!!! With the circumstances surrounding the death of her sister evergreen in her mind, Ola set to follow an already charted course; the path to becoming a Medical Doctor. She trained at the University of York, wrote her final medical exams and became a Medical Doctor at 21, thence becoming one of the youngest doctors in England at the time; she accomplished all this while working jobs to put her through school. Ola completed her post-graduate training in the West Midlands, went on to specialise in Pre-hospital and trauma care, and is also a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Physicians. And she was just getting started!!! Ola was employed at the National Health Service [NHS] UK, and worked privately at motor-racing circuits. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious MEXT Japanese Government Scholarship and produced ground-breaking research in the field of regenerative medicine through her work with induced pluripotent stem cells. Ola has published her own book along with several articles in high-profile medical journals and has sat on various influential boards at the British Medical Association.

Ola FD2

On her first visit to Nigeria since the death of her sister, Ola noted with dismay that the healthcare sector was in dire need of an upgrade. Speedy access to the best healthcare facilities in emergencies was but a pipe-dream, even for those who could afford it. And so the seed of the ‘Flying Doctors’ was sown. Ola reminisced in an interview, “Setting up the company was a direct result of my fascination for helicopters, trauma medicine, motor accident kinematics and pre-hospital medicine. I knew it was something that I had the skills and experience to do.”  And so she did!

Dr. Ola quit her job in the UK, stacked up her savings and made her way to Lagos, Nigeria. One would have thought that such a laudable objective would be welcomed with open arms, but Ola clearly recalls that she had the not-so-proverbial door slammed in her face one time too many. There were months of endless waiting in reception offices, rebuffs and even a robbery attack. However, drawing on the focus and determination she has exhibited all her life, Ola stuck to her guns, and slowly built up the resources she needed to fly the ‘Flying Doctors.’

Ola FD1

In all of these, Ola learnt a crucial lesson; “When you need something, people tend to avoid you but when you don’t need anything and seem to be making profit, they tend to become your best friend. The attitude towards me has changed immensely.” Hard, bitter truth.

And so the ‘Flying Doctors Nigeria’ was birthed, its mission, to provide urgent air ambulances to leading health institutions, insurance companies and private individuals throughout West Africa. They boast of having years of experience in both acute medicine and the aviation industry, and a team of professionals who operate a reliable, cost effective door to door air ambulance service, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Well done Ola!!!

Ola FD

She was a recipient of the ThisDay Awards in 2012, and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013, alongside Saran Kaba Jones, Cobhams Asuquo, Tara Fela-Durotoye and others. Ola is also a TED fellow.

As E! says, “If you didn’t know all these, you are welcome.”

As Arise says, “Copy Genius!!!”

Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
5 Things You Didn't Know About Jennifer in 2015: 1. Her newest collection of short stories, 'The Curious Case of the Small Pikin & Other Stories' is available on 2. She ported from Blogger to WordPress and shares her uncensored thoughts on 3. She is an aspiring Filmmaker & Talk-show Host[ess] 4. She's a mother of two, wife of one and daughter of God. 5. She plans to travel around the world in less than 80 days... Now you Know! Find me on Twitter: @jennynkem

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  2. hello dear mrs !sorry if i disturbe you ! please allow me first to introduce myself i m a Young gabonese student of medecine faculty in Libreville gabon i like what you are doing and i wish you and your team good luck.actually i took a picture with and others students in july in gabon during the centennial of dr Albert scheitzer is the Young man you ask you in English you could take a picture with us ,in fact me and other students have got a project this one is focus on the leading of Young at school,encouraging proffessionnal formation fighting against teenage pregnancy ;to make easier the Learning of English lenguage ;informatic système to finish big sensibilisation for the chengement of beihvious focus one again to encourage girls to make science studies but to obtain these objectives we need your advise and means i stay free to tell you more about thi s initiative nice journey

    • Hi Eyenga,

      Thanks for your comment. it is a good project you have going on in Libreville, Gabon.

      Ola Orekunrin’s contact details have been forwarded to your email, so you can contact her directly.

      Here is wishing you all the best.


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