Dr. Olajide Akeredolu, a seasoned plastic surgeon, dedicated his life to both the medical field and the Rotary community for over four decades. He graduated from Ibadan Medical School with an MBBS degree in 1979, marking the beginning of his medical career. Afterward, he served as a medical officer and surgeon at various hospitals in Nigeria. Notably, he is the only African from Rotary to go on a mission to Rwanda after the Rwandan genocide, bringing healing and hope to a nation scarred by unimaginable tragedy.
A Life of Service
Beyond his medical career, Dr. Akeredolu became deeply involved in Rotary International, and he joined Rotary about 22 years ago and quickly embraced the Rotary spirit of service above self.
"Before joining Rotary, I was already doing volunteer work on my own, like distributing gifts to care homes and to those in need. When I joined Rotary, I realized there was a better way to make a broader impact. Rotary's extensive network and resources can amplify your efforts, and their values resonated with me,” he shares.
Rotary's core values resonated with him, aligning with his longstanding commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Over the years, Dr. Akeredolu has held various leadership positions within Rotary, including serving as a club president and district governor. His commitment to Rotary's values and mission led him to become a Paul Harris Fellow and a member of the Paul Harris Society, a testament to his dedication to Rotary's humanitarian efforts.
Rotary Action Group for Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA)
Dr. Akeredolu's involvement with RFHA expanded when he became a board member of the Rotary Action Group for Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA).
"In 2021, I became actively involved with RFHA. They have a flagship program like the Rotary Family Health Days that provide essential healthcare services to underserved populations. It's heartening to see how RFHA diagnoses and addresses health issues, often in communities where access to healthcare is limited. RFHA's mission is to improve family and community health in countries like Nigeria, where access to healthcare services can be challenging, especially in rural areas,” said Dr Akeredolu.
Dr. Akeredolu highlights the critical role RFHA plays in diagnosing and addressing various health issues, including hypertension, diabetes, and cancer, often in communities where individuals might not have access to regular healthcare. “One noteworthy aspect of RFHA's work is its strong emphasis on diagnosis, a cornerstone of effective healthcare delivery. Speaking from a medical perspective, I've always taught my students that the three most crucial aspects of treating any illness are diagnosis, diagnosis, and once again, diagnosis. When you get the diagnosis right, the path to treatment becomes much clearer. RFHA understands this critical element and places a significant focus on it,” he adds.
He emphasizes RFHA's potential to make a significant impact by expanding its services, training community health workers, and forging partnerships to secure the necessary funding. “However, we are also evolving to address treatment needs. It's evident that when people seek help, it's not just a correct diagnosis they desire; they often require treatment as well. This presents a challenge, particularly during the Family Health Days, when individuals come seeking treatment.”
“Our response to this challenge has been to establish connections with local healthcare facilities. When someone requires treatment beyond what we can provide at the Family Health Days, we guide them to nearby healthcare units where they can receive the necessary care. Looking ahead, as we continue to grow, our goal is to train community health workers who can bridge the gap between diagnosis and treatment. This way, we can further enhance our impact as a Rotarian action group.”
The Rwanda Genocide Mission
One of Dr. Akeredolu's most profound experiences as a Rotarian was his participation in a Rotary plastic surgery mission to Rwanda. This mission took place in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, a period marked by unspeakable horrors and widespread suffering.
"We aimed to provide medical care and reconstructive surgery to survivors who had been disfigured. These surgeries not only restored physical appearance but also brought hope."
He praises Rwanda's remarkable journey of reconciliation and forgiveness, emphasizing the importance of unity and humanity over divisions.
Balancing Family and Rotary Commitments
Alongside his equally passionate wife, who shares his devotion to medicine, he navigates the delicate balance between his roles as a doctor, a Rotarian, and a family man. Dr. Akeredolu finds immense joy in giving back to the community and his efforts reflect in the smiles he brings to countless faces through his Rotary and medical work.Share