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Warrior Spotlight: Flying Doctors, Nigeria

Posted Jul 23 2013 1:44am
Written by Sickle Cell Warrior on 22 July 2013

200536206-001 Turning an adversity into a solution – Inspired by sickle cell.

Dr. Ola Orekunrin, a 26 year old medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the Managing Director of Flying Doctors Nigeria, Limited which is the first air ambulance service in West Africa, Following the death of her sister from sickle cell anemia at age 12, Ola Orekunrun founded West Africa’s 1st air ambulance service, The Flying Doctors – Lagos Nigeria. Her inspiration to become a medical doctor arose from the suffering and death of her sister from the Sickle cell disease.

According to a report from Sunad magazine; “My sister was 12 years old when she visited Nigeria and she fell quite ill. We asked for an ambulance to move her but the only air ambulance we could find was in South Africa and before the ambulance could arrive the country, she died. That served as my wake-up call’ Dr Ola Speaks. The example of Dr Ola Orekunrun is serves as a great inspiration for many. This incident didn’t break her spirit, but motivated her to devise a system to save the lives of sisters, brothers, mothers, grandparents that died everyday because they couldn’t get to the hospital quick enough, she came up with the initiative of Flying Doctors in Nigeria (first proposed in 1960 by the British, then 1980) to make a difference in her community.

Her great ambition to change her community and deliver care all started as a dream:- “It started with a dream and my dream was to bring better care services to Nigeria. I started with one aircraft by leasing it every month. I tried to make money with that aircraft by running the air ambulance service and taking as many contracts as possible. Right now it has grown to fifteen aircrafts and we pay long leases for them” she says. We should note here that Communities are at the heart of our society and developing strong local and national bodies to support their growth and well-being is an essential component in ensuring the viability of our future generations.

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