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Flying doctors boss writes book on fixing healthcare in Nigeria

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Dr. Ola Brown


Creativity and innovation, over the years, was believed to be the exclusive property of the male gender, but the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr. Ola Brown, has come with ingenious ideas to solve major problems facing humanity, as she launches a book on healthcare in the country.

Dr. Brown is a physician, a trainee helicopter pilot, founder of West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service, Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited, and now an author with the release of her first book.

A British-Nigerian doctor, Brown was born in London, England and graduated from Hull York Medical School at the tender age of 21, becoming one of the youngest medical doctors in the United Kingdom.She worked for 10 years with the National Health Service, United Kingdom. As a helicopter pilot with specialised training in aviation medicine, she pioneered the first air operated Emergency Medical Services in Lagos, Nigeria.

Her debut in the literary world, which is a rare feat for medical personnel, highlights Nigerian healthcare problems and suggests lasting solutions to make the sector efficient.

The launching of the book in Lagos State this year brought the creme-de-la-creme of the profession and others from all walks of life together for the ingenious piece.To capture the unwavering attention of her readers, the book is divided into five chapters laced with attractive and pictorial graphics; and other aesthetic perfection to make it extremely hard to resist at a glance.

Though the drive to achieve healthcare in the largest black nation has been moving to and fro like the swing of a pendulum, posing huge threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by year 2030, as impossible as it appears to be, Brown noted that “with my years of experience working within Nigeria’s healthcare system, I felt I had to offer some practical solutions to the problems that are holding us back.

“While our challenges are more economic than they are clinical, I think much can be accomplished through organisational restructuring, task shifting, and a re-prioritisation of public and primary healthcare services.”Systematically, the literary work identifies the huge lacuna in the present healthcare structure, making it almost impossible for the efforts put in place by the available resources to achieve the desired results.

“But let me also say that I don’t minimize the need for additional funding and I suggest several paths that need to be explored in order to upgrade financing.“It is my hope that my book, Fixing Healthcare in Nigeria, will get the discussion going and prompt leadership to look at some new ways to approach healthcare delivery in Nigeria,” she said.

The book looks at the current healthcare system in Nigeria from several points of view and also examines how some commercial enterprises have achieved success in Nigeria. The author suggests that those in charge of delivering healthcare should adopt some of the ideas that have proved successful in private enterprise to practice so as to achieve desired results.

Apparently, one of the examples she holds up is the success of Dangote Cement Company. Dangote’s Obajana factory is one of the most advanced and largest cement factories in Africa.

According to her: “Much of the company’s success is due to its ability to reduce its costs while at the same time increasing its output. Central to this is Dangote’s massive network of small distributors spread out through Nigeria’s communities.”Dr. Brown contrasts the success of the company’s decentralized system to the problems found in the Chinese cement industry where large centralized plants are located far from where the cement is actually used.

“I also believe we need to innovate our systems and our way of thinking. Along with making primary care and public health our highest priorities, we need to leverage technologies like telemedicine and shift the handling of tasks that require less training away from our physicians,” she added.

The 38-page book, a concise assessment and prescription for improving Nigerian healthcare, is now available as a free download at http://bit.ly/fixhealthcaredropbox.
Giving the intellectual work as a free gift to mankind, she disclosed that it can be read online or downloaded at the file sharing site, Dropbox, (http://bit.ly/fixhealthcaredropbox).


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