Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor, helicopter pilot and managing director of the Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd, West Africa's first air ambulance service and a crucial link for critically injured people who, like many across the continent, are far away from hospital care. Along the way, Orekunrin has become a passionate advocate for finding African answers to African problems. “I believe that the solutions to development in Africa lie in the minds of Africans. Particularly African entrepreneurs. An important part of Africa’s future lies in our ability to take Western ideas and adapt them to Africa,” she says.
Orekunrin graduated from the University Of York in Britain, is one of the youngest doctors in the country and has worked in the NHS for nearly ten years. She has a special interest in Trauma and Pre-hospital Care, buttressed by her private work at motor-racing circuits across the country and her work with air ambulance services in the UK and Japan. Ola has published her own book along with several articles in high-profile medical journals and has sat on various influential boards at the British Medical Association. In 2008, Orekunrin was awarded the prestigious MEXT Japanese Government Scholarship and produced groundbreaking research in the field of regenerative medicine, focusing on induced pluripotent stem cells. She also is a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine and holds their board certification. She currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria where she is considered a national expert of disaster medicine and pre-hospital care. She is a TED fellow and has been honored by the world economic forum as a Young Global Leader; her company has been featured on various local TV and radio stations as well as the BBC and CNN.