Achievers

The flying doctors is West Africa's for most emergency air ambulance service. Raised in the United Kingdom, Orekunrin became generally known for becoming England's youngest doctor at the early age of 21. In a tragic loss, One of her sisters who died from a sickle cell anemia crisis. Ola knew that her death could have been averted if there had been adequate emergency care and an air ambulance, so she set out to reduce the numbers of death in the same way and established the Flying Doctors. Notwithstanding the immense difficulties of gathering both government and private support, overcoming rejections and raising funds. She scaled through and achieved her goal.

 

You became a medical doctor at age thus becoming one of the youngest medical doctors in England, tell us about this journey?

     The same as most other, I was a science geek, made sure I passed all my exams and got into medical school. Then I made sure I worked very hard to stay there. I love with medicine. Graduating a little early just gave me a bit of extra to build my business.

Had you always wanted to be a doctor or was it something that you were influenced to do?

      As long as I can remember I have wanted to be a doctor. My parents never tried to choose for me.

You were born an breed in the united kingdom with a successful medical career and bright future, what prompted your move back to Nigeria?

     I somehow knew that I could make changes to the way emergency healthcare was delivered I tried to join online forums and influence form abroad, but I slowly changes I wanted to make was to move to Nigeria. So I did and I haven't looked back since. Although I do miss my friends and family in the UK

     Losing your sister was traumatic which obviously motivated you to set up your business, did you ever doubt the ability to handle the business?

     I doubted myself all the. It's only through the grace of god and the encouragement of my family that I could have set up my business. I know people say this so much it sounds cliché but the key to business success is really ruthless determination, despite doubt/fear. Super-rich parents help, but that doesn't guarantee anything. Mine were not, contrary to popular opinion, I feel the only factors that guarantee success are internal in your mind, not on your family tree.

What type of challenges did you face while trying to set up this business?

     Plenty of challenges form finding personnel, equipment supply chain, regulatory aspect etc, I had to develop a lot of new skill very quickly.

How affordable is it to travel by air ambulance and is it something the average Nigeria can afford?

     Currently, many of the people that we transport cannot afford it with their own funds, but their states, insurance companies and workplace are covered and therefore they are entitled to evacuation when they need it. I think it is a service that should be available to every Nigeria if the correct policies are put in place.

How many air ambulances do you have and on the average how many people do you fly out in a month?

     We have a pool of just under 20 aircrafts currently. A small percentage Fly out of the country for medical treatment. Some fly into Nigeria for treatment from poorer countries in the West African sub-continent and the large majority are moved form remote areas to urban areas like Lagos/Abuja for treatment.

Have you had any aviation authority issues?

    No they have been very supportive of our business, as have the NCAA and NAMA.

With such a demanding job, how do you find time for yourself?

    It's difficult. But having a work life balance is important and it's something Is I strive for.

It's common knowledge in this part of the world that men are sometime intimidated by successful women, how have you been able to create the balance in relationships?

     None of the men I spend my time around are intimidated by me. They are supportive, respectful and encourage me to excel. All successful women should try to surround themselves with these kind of men and avoid the dream killers like the plague.

What's the one thing in your career and work that you want to accomplish that you haven't yet done? 

    Making critical care transport by air available to every single Nigerian

  How would you describe yourself?

    Geeky, introverted, ambitious, determined, God fearing and a life-long learner

Describe your personal style?

     Easy-going

How do you relax?

     At the spa when I get the time.

What is your best piece of advice do for people under the age of 30 to do right now?

    Work as hard as you can in your 20's so that you can relax in your thirties. Women, lean in the Nigeria economy will not evolve without your help. Seize the opportunities available to you.

 

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