#HeroesWithoutCapes Lens On Dr. Olawale Sulaiman: Louisiana Based Nigerian Neurosurgeon Who Takes Pay Cut To Travel Home To Perform Free Operations

By Duchess Magazine

#HeroesWithoutCapes Lens On Dr. Olawale Sulaiman: Louisiana Based Nigerian Neurosurgeon Who Takes Pay Cut To Travel Home To Perform Free Operations

“I believe that happiness doesn’t come from what you get, rather, it comes from what you give,” he said. “There is always room to give; you don’t need to be a millionaire to give.”

To be counted amongst the privileged few who have carved out a niche for themselves amongst life’s most skilled persons no doubt is an awe worthy accomplishment, to further dedicate energy, time and resources for the betterment of others, shuffling not just two countries but two whole continents rather than reveling in the well deserved glories which comes with such an esteemed position most definitely raises life’s achievement bar several notches.

Today we zoom in on one of life’s most inspiring figures who give humanitarianism and philanthropy its true definition, accomplished Neurosurgeon, skilled Physician and Academic, Wale Sulaiman,
CEO and Chairman of RNZ Global Ltd. co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Hippo Technologies and founder RNZ Foundation which aims to provide free neurosurgical care for Nigerians and Africans as well as training for healthcare professionals.

Although resident in Louisiana, he shuffles between the US and Nigeria, spending up to 12 days each month providing healthcare in Nigeria – sometimes for free, CNN reports

A top professional with vast experience in the medical field, Dr. Wale Sulaiman’s selfless dedication has seen him countlessly giving back through delivery of affordable, innovative and qualitative healthcare to vulnerable regions.

A Pioneer Neurosurgeon in minimally invasive spine surgery, he is reputed to have performed the first minimally invasive spine surgery in Sub-Sahara Africa.

In 2012 together with his wife he started RNZ GLOBAL with vision to bringing world-class health care system to your doorstep through creation of destination centers for high-quality and comprehensive healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. Fast forward to today, it is recognized as one of the premier and most innovative healthcare companies in Nigeria. RNZ Global has applaudably treated more than 500 patients and provided preventative medicine to up to 5,000 people in the US and Nigeria.

Through RNZ Global’s non profit arm called RNZ foundation registered in 2019, less privileged patients with neurological diseases who cannot afford the cost are offered free medical care and surgeries.

A Professor of neurosurgery and spinal surgery at Tulane University, he served as System Chairman of Neurosurgery and Co-Medical Director of a Neuroscience Institute with Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, USA till 2019.

Born in Lagos Island, Lagos, Prof. Wale Sulaiman an indigene of Kwara State, Nigeria, had his secondary school education at St Gregory College, his brilliance, at age 19 paved way for his future as even though his humble background couldn’t afford paying for an education, he was awarded a Nigerian Academic scholarship to study medicine at The Medical University, Varna, Bulgaria in Europe through the Bureau for External Aid, a Nigerian government program.

His humble roots serve as his greatest motivation;

“I am one of 10 children born into a polygamous family. My siblings and I shared one room where we often found ourselves sleeping on a mat on the floor,” he recalls in a chat with CNN

According to Sulaiman who is ever grateful for the scholarship which he says opened many doors, in turn, he feels responsible to give back through healthcare.

“Africans who have had the privilege of getting outstanding training and education abroad must mobilize their network of influence to transform our continent,” he said.

It is his mission use his knowledge to improve the healthcare system. “As I often do, I consulted with my loving and devoted wife for advice. We both decided that giving back was the only option for both of us, and for our family. We have never looked back,” he added.

On his trips to Nigeria where he sometimes did free surgeries, recalling, he explains he had to negotiate a 25% pay cut with his American employer in exchange for longer holidays to Nigeria to pursue his passion:

“I would use my vacation times for the medical missions, which were also planned with education and training sessions. We donated a lot of medications, equipment and hands-on training on surgical techniques,” he said.

Even more, teaming up with Dr. Yusuf Salman, a neurosurgeon based in Abuja, Nigeria to perform life-changing surgeries, in 2013, through a partnership with MPAC, a faith-related organization, both doctors worked together to provide free spinal surgeries to underprivileged Nigerians in Kwara, north-central Nigeria.

“(Sulaiman) came to Nigeria with implants and equipment from the US so that we could operate for free on people with spine-related problems. He was the lead surgeon and I and a couple of others assisted him at the time. We did about 10 surgeries,” Salman said

Dr. Olawale Sulaiman is board-certified in Neurosurgery by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and completed two world-renowned clinical fellowships in both complex nerve reconstruction (Louisiana State University, US) and complex spine surgery (Medical College of Wisconsin, US).

In 2019 the Kwara state governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, owing to Dr. olawale’s dedication and commitment towards giving back and bettering the healthcare system approved the appointment of the renowned professor as Special Adviser on Health Matters.


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