Happy Mother’s Day in arrears to all women out there. There are a lot of women who have risen from the ashes of painful experiences to become solution providers and lights to others walking similar paths.
To mark the recently celebrated Mother’s Day, we will highlight the journeys and achievements of five of these women who have shown that painful experiences can become inspiring stories.
Here are we go:
Dr Lola Salako
Dr Lola Salako’s career journey was shaped by the loss of her sister to Kidney Cancer some 16 years ago. She was still in medical school at the time and her sister’s case was her first hands-on experience with a cancer patient. Dealing with her sister’s case and the eventual loss, Dr Lola felt more clearly what it meant for the families of those diagnosed with cancer.
The experience brought out a fierce passion for cancer patients in Dr Lola. She went on to become one of the few Radiation Oncologists in Nigeria. In a country where 3,000 oncologists are needed, she is one of only 70 that are available.
In honour of her sister, she established Sebeccly Cancer Care to promote cancer awareness. The centre also provides quality cancer screening, treatment, survivorship services and facilities for the community. She went on to launch Oncopadi, a cancer app that makes cancer information and quality care available through smartphones.
Temie’s story began with a difficult childbirth on February 14, 2014 as she had a baby who came seven weeks earlier than expected. Therefore, both mother and child required immediate intensive care which they got in Minnesota where the delivery took place.
Recognizing that the outcome may have been a lot different if the delivery had been in Nigeria, and learning from research that 34% of women died yearly from postpartum haemorrhage, Temie set out to make blood more readily available to hospitals when patients needed it.
Lifebank was started in 2016, and since then has delivered critical supplies including blood, emergency medical oxygen canisters, platelets, plasma, and vaccines to help doctors save patients in critical situations.
Dr Ola Orekunrin
Raised in a foster home in London, Ola Orekunrin graduated as a medical doctor when she was 21. Her sister was visiting relatives in Nigeria when she fell ill due to her anaemic condition. The local hospital was not able to manage her sister’s condition and she needed to be flown out of the country for immediate care.
However, there was no air ambulance to airlift Olamide’s sister in West Africa at the time, and the available option was in South Africa which is 5 hours away. By the time the logistics were arranged, Olamide’s sister had passed away.
This led to the start of Flying Doctors, the first air ambulance service in West Africa established by Olamide Orekunrin. Flying Doctors provide urgent helicopter and aeroplane ambulance and evacuation services for critically injured people to get the help they need.
When Anike was pregnant with her first child, she could not find a community for expectant mothers where she could find knowledge and support for her condition. This spurred her to create a solution to meet that need.
She started Mamalette as a platform for parents and parents-to-be to ask questions, share experiences and learn more about parenthood. The platform has grown into providing education, meet-ups, support and online events for parents and children.
Through the Champions program at Mamalette, Anike works with her team to improve health outcomes for vulnerable or marginalised women and children.
Teni moved from a career in broadcasting into the mobile tech industry to develop healthtech solutions because of her personal medical experiences as well as the experiences of others.
Heading the development of products such as Dial A Doctor, Teni was able to help people who needed to access doctors get them at the critical moments before they could make their way to hospitals.
One of Teni’s highlights throughout her career is recalling the time Dial A Doctor was able to provide medical advice to a young woman who was bleeding and scared and did not know what to do.
Painful experiences, rather than mar them, have become the reference points for life-defining innovations by these women and many others like them.
To these women who keep going strong despite the odds, who keep soaring despite the challenges, who keep breaking boundaries in the business world and keep a balanced home, to them we raise a toast. Happy Mother’s Day.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!