Dr Ola Brown is the brain behind fast-growing healthcare service, Flying Doctors. She speaks on the project and how to tackle perennial healthcare challenges in Nigeria
Choice of profession and why
I chose to study medicine because I enjoyed science subjects and because I thought that the practice of medicine was a unique way that I could serve my community.
What it felt like studying abroad
I was born and raised in England so at the time, I felt that I was working and studying at home, not abroad. But now Lagos is my home.
Why I returned to Nigeria
I wanted to work in Africa, but I also felt there was a unique opportunity to serve the healthcare industry here.
Why Flying Doctors?
I grew up in a country where most patients can get to the right medical facility within the correct time frame partly because of their sophisticated air ambulance system. I wanted to make that a reality in Nigeria as well. Many assume that the only way to improve health care is to build more hospitals. But improving access to health care; air ambulances form an essential part of the health care system.
On Flying Doctors being elitist
Air ambulance services are an essential part of any health care system and we are working hard to ensure we increase availability.
Lesson learnt so far
People are everything. Trust within teams. The importance of recruiting and developing good people.
Fundamental healthcare problem(s) in Nigeria
Am I allowed two? Access to care and healthcare funding.
Advice to improve on the challenges
Increasing proportion of budget for healthcare; centralising healthcare services; embracing technology like e-health and taking government led steps to make working as a doctor in Nigeria more attractive.
Effect of exodus of Nigerian doctors
It lowers the doctor to patient ratio and strains the system.
Personal contribution to healthcare in Nigeria
We run a CSR programme which focuses on women/girls and their healthcare
Short and long-term plans
Expansion across Africa.
Other interest apart from medicine
Entrepreneurship and technology.