Neurosurgeon Splits Time Between the US And Nigeria To Give Free Operations
Doctors are amazing. They never fail to amaze us particularly during times when we hear news about them saving lives. Being a doctor is definitely not easy, especially if you are a neurosurgeon. They are known to be skilled operators. They do operations for hours without complaints. They do everything they can to save a person’s precious life.
But doing surgeries on two continents? Well, that is a superhuman skill!
Meet Dr. Olawale Sulaiman. He is a 49-year-old professor of neurosurgery and spinal surgery. He is also the chairman of the neurosurgery department and back and spine center at the Ochsner Neuroscience Institute in New Orleans.
Dr. Sulaiman resides in Louisiana. However, he would split his time between the United States and Nigeria just to provide healthcare in the country where he was born. He would spend up to 12 days each month in Nigeria to save lives. Sometimes, he does this for free!
The doctor was born in Lagos Island, Lagos. According to him, his motivation comes from growing up in a very poor region. During his short interview with CNN, he said, “I am one of 10 children born into a polygamous family. My siblings and I shared one room where we often found ourselves sleeping on a mat on the floor.”
His family was very poor. His parents could not afford his university tuition. He was 19 years old at that time. He was very young, but this did not stop him from getting a scholarship to study medicine in Bulgaria. This was through the help of the Bureau for External Aid, a Nigerian government program that is targeted in improving the life of Nigeria’s most vulnerable communities. Because of his scholarship, this opened many doors for the young student.
Sulaiman was very thankful for the opportunity that was given to him. This is why he feels that he needs to give back. And now, he is doing this in the most heroic way possible!
In 2010, he started the RNZ Global with his wife Patricia. This is a healthcare development company. They provide medical services, including neuro and spinal surgery, and also offer health courses for everyone like first aid CPR. They do this not only in Nigeria but also in the United States. Because of the shortage in physician-scientists, he decided that it was very important that he will also extend his expertise to Nigeria.
He said, “Africans who have had the privilege of getting outstanding training and education abroad must mobilize their network of influence to transform our continent.” He also wanted to use his knowledge to improve the healthcare system. He explained, “As I often do, I consulted with my loving and devoted wife for advice. We both decided that giving back was the only option for both of us, and for our family. We have never looked back.”
He also shared that he would use his vacation times for his medical missions which usually include education and training sessions. His organization also donated medications, equipment, and hands-on training on surgical techniques. In fact, he revealed that he negotiated 25% of his pay cut with his American employer in exchange for longer holidays to Nigeria!
This amazing doctor hopes to establish at least four neuroscience centers in Nigeria in the years to come.