Pioneer of West Africa’s first air ambulance service, Dr. Ola Orekunrin, is our Woman Crush this Wednesday.

Dr. Ola Orekunrin Brown is a British-Nigerian medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service.

Being born originally in London, Ola grew up in a foster home in south-east England with her sister. She developed a passion for medicine and studied at the University of York, graduating at the age of 21 as one of the youngest medical doctors in the UK. Her colourful results got her a MEXT Japanese Government Scholarship and she moved to Japan to conduct clinic research in the field of regenerative medicine at the Jikei University Hospital.


Flying Doctor, Dr. Ola Orekunrin, is our Woman Crush today (Lionesses of Africa)


She did not get inspired to start Flying Doctors Nigeria until an unfortunate but significant series of event occurred. Whilst visiting relatives in Nigeria, Ola’s younger sister became very ill as a result of her anaemic condition. The local hospital could not handle the crisis, which could have been easily managed with the right medicines in the cupboard of a highly efficient Accident and Emergency hospital ward. To find access to the right medicines, the family sought out air ambulance services in Nigeria and went as far as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and across West Africa. The closes one was 5 hours away in South Africa, but by the time logistics had been sorted, it was too late. Ola’s sister had died.

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This was the catalyst that spurred a major career decision and caused Ola to move back to Nigeria to try to make a difference in the country — by improving healthcare and trauma response.

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Having aviation training under her belt, she studied evacuation models and air ambulance services before starting her ambitious entrepreneurial venture, Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited.


Flying Doctor, Dr. Ola Orekunrin, is our Woman Crush today (Bella Naija)


Since launch, the business has amassed more than 20 aircrafts used for different types of evacuation, and about 44 staff all employed in different capacities and branches in three major cities in Nigeria. From road accident patients, to bomb blast victims, the Lagos-based company has saved hundreds of lives by timely airlifting more than 500 patients – not just in Nigeria, but across the African continent.

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Ola is a member of both the American Academy of Aesthetic Surgeons and the British Medical Association. She was listed among Young Global leaders by World Economic Forum in 2013 and is also a TED fellow.

Her determination and outstanding impact to the field of medicine in Africa is why she is our #WCW today!

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