By: Pamilerin Arayemi
Ola Orekunrin-Brown, founder of the revolutionary health company, Flying Doctors Nigeria has been honoured with the Extraordinary Business Achievement Award at the 2017 Man of the Year Awards ceremony.
The event which was organized by the Silverbird Group held at the convention centre of the Eko Hotels on Friday 23, 2018 and attracted a stellar cast of Nigerian entrepreneurs, technocrats and politicians.
Ola Brown becomes the youngest ever recipient of the MOTY at 30.
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 hrs 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 state 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 medicare from Liberia to Ghana to Mali to Burkina Faso to Congo and of course our home Nigeria,” she said.
A 100% African air ambulance service provider, Flying Doctors Nigeria has been operating across Africa for nearly 10 years. It is the first indigenous arrangement of its kind in West Africa, transporting victims of medical emergencies, having a pool of qualified doctors and a network of hospitals.
In her award category, Mrs Brown emerged among Nigeria’s foremost captains of industry, with the likes of insurance magnate, Deji Alli(ARM); IT pioneer, Leo Stan Ekeh (Zinox); industrialist, Abdul Samad Rabiu (BUA Group); and the doyen of advertising Biodun Shobanjo (Insight Communications)
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.