#EmpowerHer From Tragedy To Inspiration! Meet Ola Orekunrin: Founder The Flying Doctors – West Africa’s First Air Ambulance Service

By Duchess Magazine

Ola Orekunrin: Founder The Flying Doctors

Healthcare in Africa presents enormous challenges due to poverty and corruption, evident in lack of adequate health facilities and infrastructures which have in no small measure left bitter tales in the lives of many.

At just age 12 years Orekunrin’s family was hit with devastating tragedy when her sister while traveling with relatives in Nigeria, fell ill, desperately the family searched for a medical facility in the region which catered for sickle-cell anemia sufferers but found none, sadly the girl died. That deeply personal tragic incident would serve as inspiration behind the British-born, Nigerian doctor Ola Orekunrin towards revamping the medical field in the country through her pioneering company which provides air ambulance operations.

Dr. Ola’s inspiring work has been featured by CNN,the BBC, Forbes and Al-Jazeera.

Dr. Ola Orekunrin studied medicine and surgery at the Hull York Medical School after which she worked in Acute Medicine in the UK. She then went on to be awarded the Japanese MEXT scholarship which allowed her to further her studies in Tokyo, Japan.

In 2010, with her specialised training in aviation medicine, even with a promising career in the UK – quit her job, sold her assets and returned to Lagos, Nigeria to found the pioneering Flying Doctors Nigeria (2019) the first medical air service in West Africa.

“From patients with road traffic trauma, to bomb blast injuries to gunshot wounds, we save lives by moving these patients and providing a high level of care en route.” Dr. Ola told CNN.

The healthcare entrepreneur is founder of the Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Group and Director Greentree Investment Company. Through her company, Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd., an air ambulance service based in Lagos, Nigeria, she provides urgent helicopter, aeroplane ambulance and evacuation services; transporting victims of medical emergencies, including industrial workers from the country’s booming oil and gas sector.

The FDHIC invests and operates across the African healthcare and wellness value chain in hospital/clinic construction & refurbishment, diagnostics and equipment, health facility management, pharmaceutical retail, drug manufacturing, air ambulance services & logistics and consulting/healthcare technology.
FDHIC specializes in technology enabled healthcare focused public private partnerships (PPP) in Africa.

Alongside her work at Flying Doctors, Dr Ola, Olabode Agusto and Abasiama Idaresit run an startup venture capital firm, Greentree Investment Company which provides growth capital to some of Africa’s technology start-ups. Greentree Investment company operates a Startup Lab that supports entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses and also invests in some notable African start-ups including Paystack, Precurio and Big Cabal Media e.t.c

She is an international speaker who has spoken at the TED global conference, the European Union, the Swiss Economic Forum, the UN, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the World Health Organisation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge University and the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Ola is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Ola is a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. She was listed among Young Global leaders by World Economic Forum in 2013.

She has a certificate in Public-Private Partnership from Harvard University, a Project Finance and the Public Private Partnership Professional Certificate from the New York Institute of Finance, a certificate in Business execution and strategy from Wharton, Economic policy making from IE business school, Spain.


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