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Former Lowestoft woman seeks backing for flying doctor service dream

PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 06 July 2010

Dr Ola Orekunrin, centre

Dr Ola Orekunrin, centre

Victoria Nicholls

A former Lowestoft woman is looking for crucial funding to realise her dream of setting up a flying doctors service in Nigeria.

Dr Ola Orekunrin said she was inspired to found West Africa's first air ambulance service following the death of her 12-year-old sister, Busola.

A former Lowestoft woman is looking for crucial funding to realise her dream of setting up a flying doctors service in Nigeria.

Dr Ola Orekunrin said she was inspired to found West Africa's first air ambulance service following the death of her 12-year-old sister, Busola.

The 23-year-old is currently developing an alliance with the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service to help her establish a flying doctors service covering Nigeria.

A former pupil of St Mary's RC Primary School in Lowestoft, Dr Orekunrin said: “My sister died due to inadequate critical care transfer services in Nigeria. As a doctor and a trainee pilot, I knew I have the skills to make a difference, so I used my relationships with air ambulance services both in the UK, Singapore and Japan.

“Being from Lowestoft, the East Anglian service has been a great influence on me and as a doctor that's something I want to promote globally.''

To reach her goal Dr Orekunrin, who is currently working on stem research in Tokyo, began saving half of what she earned every month and did extra locum cover. She is now searching for funding to ensure her flying doctors dream can finally get off the ground.

“I started reading every book on leadership, management, negotiation and marketing I could lay my hands on,” she said. “A few months later armed with my business plan and a lot of determination and passion, I booked my first ticket to Nigeria to pitch my idea.

“The reception by most has been amazing and my proposals for change have been welcomed by the public and private sector alike.!

She now has an office in Nigeria, where she travels to regularly for meetings about the flying doctors service.

Dr Orekunrin, who has returned to Lowestoft for Christmas, graduated from York University and was initially brought up in a foster home.

He success has been encouraged by Kath Temple, a Lowestoft psychologist and owner of The Life-Long Learning Company.

“My parents had never been to university, neither had anyone in my family, so in many senses Kath has always been my role model,'' said Dr Orekunrin.

“Many of my social workers had said my chances of going to university were slim to none because of my background. However, Kath has always been the mentor that has told me to go for it, helping me with my application to medical school and encouraging me to write my first medical textbook.''

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