Flying Doctors Bags Silverbird Man Award

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Ayodeji Ake

As the initiator of the first air ambulance, Dr. Ola Orekunrin-Brown, founder of the revolutionary health company, Flying Doctors Nigeria has been honoured with the Business Achievement Award at the 2018 Silverbird Man Award.

Ola Orekunrin noted her decision to start the company was motivated by the tragic death of her younger sister a couple of years ago.

The young doctor who also trained as a pilot decided to leave behind a high-flying job in the UK to take to the Nigerian skies and address the vital issue of urgent healthcare in Africa.

She recalled a recent incident that validated her business adventure: “A few months ago a young gentleman became critically unwell and the only centre with the capability to perform the operation he required was here in Lagos almost 20 hours by road from the state he was. To make matters worse he was on oxygen consuming about a cylinder of oxygen per hour.

“How do critically unwell patients get across Nigeria with air ambulance services because in the same way that Dangote doesn’t place a factory in every day just because every state needs cement, we can’t build specialist high tech medical centres in every state just because people require specialist healthcare. So over the past decade we have built one of the biggest indigenous air medical transportation services in West and Central Africa. Serving patients in urgent need of care from Liberia to Ghana to Mali to Burkina Faso to Congo and of course our home Nigeria,” she said.

According to her, African air ambulance service provider, Flying Doctors Nigeria has been operating across Africa for nearly 10 years. It is the first indigenous in West Africa, transporting victims of medical emergencies, having a pool of qualified doctors and a network of hospitals.

She accepted the award by thanking her “amazing team for working through the many nights making this happen.” She also thanked the Silverbird organisation for recognising the lifesaving work her organisation has been doing for almost a decade.