One of the services stimulating unconventional growth in the Nigerian health sector is Flying Doctors Nigeria by Ola Orekunrin. The health platform which was launched to improve healthcare in Nigeria has played a vital role in providing ambulance services for trauma victims in the remote parts of West Africa and its branches are situated in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
With Nigeria being one of the countries to record the highest number of road traffic fatalities and with the influx of more automobiles and industrial equipment, the need for a service like Flying Doctors Nigeria has become more critical than ever. The service boasts of being the first Nigerian indigenous company to specialise in air ambulance, medevac, remote site medical solutions, and infrastructural development and training.
The Startup Story
Flying Doctors was founded by Ola Orekunrin, a medical doctor and helicopter pilot who is passionate about bringing health care to trauma victims in Africa. She was prompted to start an air ambulance service after her younger sister died due to a sickle cell anemia condition and the inadequacy of medical air services in Nigeria.
Ola was born and bred in London. Her love and passion for the field of Medicine led her to study it at the University of York in the UK graduating at the relatively young age of 21 as a qualified doctor. In her quest to achieve more, she went on to bag the MEXT Japanese Government scholarship. While there, she conducted clinical research in the field of regenerative medicine at the Jikei University Hospital.
Her life-changing decision to serve humanity came when her younger sister fell ill and died while on holiday in Nigeria. The crux of it all was that Ola’s sister didn’t die because her condition was unmanageable as it had been effectively managed while abroad, rather she died due to the inability to access air ambulance services that could come to the rescue. This tragedy led to Ola resigning from her job abroad and moving to Nigeria where she knew a void in the healthcare system needed to be filled.
Establishment, Achievements, and Milestones
In order to bring her dream of Flying Doctors Nigeria to fruition, Ola began studying evacuation models and air ambulance services in developed countries. Through her acquired knowledge and her passion for both Medicine and flying, she launched Flying Doctors Nigeria in 2007.
Today, Flying Doctors prides itself as the first air ambulance service in West Africa to provide helicopter, airplane ambulance, and evacuation services to critically ill or injured individuals. Due to Ola’s hard work and perseverance, Flying Doctors has received global recognition and admiration from the business world and medical profession.
The company which is based in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and other states in Nigeria currently has over 20 aircraft and about 30 staff all available to be dispatched to different locations in the country. The Lagos-based branch has so far recorded airlifts of about 500 patients. Flying Doctors award-winning services have also been featured on CNN, BBC, and NPR.
Featured image source: Flying Doctors Nigeria