BusinessDay

Save a life mission: Dr Richard Okoye’s innovative dream turns to inventive reality

The journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a step.

For Dr Richard Okoye, the Founder of Save A Life Mission and Chairman of Save A Life Group, the journey began with a dream and a step of faith some eleven years ago.

The dream

The dream was to radically transform the health sector with hitherto seemingly impossible medical innovations that would not only increase the life expectancy of Nigerians hovering between 56 and 58 years to about 70 years but also make Nigeria cum Africa one of the choicest health tourism destinations in the world.

With no financial resources to achieve this tall, utopic dream, perhaps coupled with the usual vision killers syndrome that offer nothing but discouragement, taking that first step of faith became inevitable for Dr Richard Okoye.

And he took the step.

The step of faith

The year was 2010. One good day, he stepped out and headed straight to a micro-finance bank to ask for a loan.

Impressed with his vision, the bank gave him a loan of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000).

He judiciously utilised the money and, in due time, paid back. The micro-finance bank was further impressed. They could see that the Save A Life Mission vision of Dr Okoye was not a fluke. So, they gave him another loan, this time, six million naira (N6,000,000).

With the money, Dr Richard Okoye was able to advance his Save A Life Mission vision.

His radio and television programme, “You and Your Health”, for instance, became so popular that many individuals and households could not do without listening to or watching it. People looked forward to it both in Nigeria and Ghana.

Global attention

Publicity and reputation garnered, and the vision swelling with innovations, the Save A Life Mission became a hot cake – a rich, health package hot cake.

It caught the attention of international investors. To some of them, it may have appeared strange that a black man of Nigerian extraction could moot and midwife such an unprecedented health vision unseen in the annals of global history. To others, the Save A Life Mission was too good an idea that it must be acquired at all cost. The inventions-focused innovative health ideas that hallmark the vision were too utopian to overlook, they may have reasoned.

Soon, the foreign investors began to make offers. They went for an outright purchase of the health organisation.

And they were ready to pay.

Leading the pack was a corporate group in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The group offered Dr Richard Okoye a whooping sum of twenty million US dollars ($20,000,000) to take over his Save A Life Mission.

This was in 2012. At that time, Dr Richard Okoye needed money to further his many research programmes and generally expand the scope of his Save A Life Mission. To compound matters, a commercial bank, which seemed not to believe in his vision, had turned down his request for a loan. So the huge, mouth-watering offer from the Dubai investors was like an irresistible bait for the Nigerian-born medical doctor.

But Dr Richard Okoye rejected the twenty-million dollars ($20,000,000). His unflinching belief in, and passion for his vision and the long-term health benefits and opportunities it will offer humanity, especially Nigerians, Africans and the entire black race, convinced him to reject the money. They also constituted the impetus that spurred him on and gave him reason to maintain his focus.

It finally paid off.

The breakthrough

No doubt, many a Nigerian youth would have rushed to accept the Dubai offer, seeing it as a divine breakthrough and/or answered prayer, especially in today’s generation where young men are desperate to make quick money, preferably hard currency, a development that has led to many of our professionals trooping out of the country in search of greener pastures overseas.

But Doctor Richard Okoye chose to be patient. And a patient dog, according to our fathers, eats the fattest bone.

The breakthrough finally came when the Group MD and CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, came and saw what Dr Richard Okoye was doing, got fascinated by the Save A Life Mission vision and helped to raise funds for the project. The impact was stupendous. From then on, it has been from one success story to another, with the health organisation growing in leaps and bounds and breaking technological barriers.

Expansion

Gifted with a midas’ touch and a knack for hardwork, Dr Richard Okoye has gone on to build his Save A Life Mission into a mega health conglomerate with a global brand – the Save A Life Group – whose net worth is believed to be in the region of billions.

Today, he sits atop the Save A Life Group as chairman.

And the Group has as components, the Save A Life Medisoft Limited (a software developing company based in the USA), the popular Save A Life Group of Hospitals and the Dr Save A Life Foundation.

It is worthy of note that the Save A Life Group of Hospitals has the certification of the International Standards Organization (ISO), a merit earned as a result of the first class, state-of-the-art medical services rendered by this group of hospitals. For instance, it has a zero hospital- acquired infection status, equipped with the first digital cardiocare lab for heart, neuro and cardiovascular diseases, kidney dialysis and transplant facility, spine, orthopaedic and painless minimal neuro-plasma surgeries, IVF, among others.

Equipped with these sophisticated medical facilities, the Save A Life Group of Hospitals has successfully treated severe medical cases initially thought impossible in this part of the world.

Similarly, the Dr Save A Life Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, is a platform through which Dr Richard Okoye has touches lives positively. The Foundation organises free health awareness seminars in communities, churches and academic institutions. It also offers free medical tests and treatments. It has saved the lives of many indigent patients who would not have been able to fund their treatments.

Pursuant to his vision to transform the health care system in Africa, he has single-handedly sponsored the training of medical doctors abroad.

He has also assisted some hospitals with the scientific know-how and equipment to improve their medical services, all in an effort to actualise his selfless, noble vision of revolutionising medical practice in Nigeria in particular and Africa at large.

A man with a heart of gold and zealous for the work of God,

Dr Richard Okoye has equally supported some churches with resources for the continued spread of the gospel of Christ and deepening of the work of the kingdom of God.

Innovations and inventions

Given his track record of achievements, it will not be out of place to describe Dr Richard Okoye as a channel of health innovations and inventions for the benefit of mankind and betterment of the human society.

Like an ever-flowing water fountain, these innovative and inventive ideas have consistently produced excellent results.

Today, Dr Richard Okoye is the author of 25 best-selling books. He remains a highly sought-after speaker on health issues in Nigeria and beyond.

He has invented the first ever artificial intelligence (AI) that is already rendering medical diagnostic and counselling services to millions of people around the world. Known as Dr Saves A Life App, the device, which was officially launched to the world recently, is downloaded online free of charge.

Apart from its simplicity and handiness, what makes the Dr Saves A Life App unique is the fact that it is a polyglot.

As a polyglot, the device not only speaks different foreign languages but also speaks all the major Nigerian languages of Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Efik. It has the capability to communicate with a user and answer health questions.

A wonder indeed!

But Dr Richard Okoye isn’t finished yet. He has other innovations and inventions coming hence he believes he is just starting.

He plans to launch what might also be the world’s first digitalized hospital in the very near future. Sounds incredible?

Then wait for the mind blower: Dr Okoye is set to launch the first digital medical university and research institute in the world!

These ICT-powered digital medical institutions will be fully equipped with a hybrid of medical software and hardware systems.

Okoye has also set his innovative eyes on revolutionising the practice of surgery through a 5G-powered robotic technology. While some might be busy wondering how feasible this idea would be, the innovative-minded and invention- focused medical practitioner may have already embarked on the project.

Thus, he could, sooner than later, launch the first 5G compatible robotic surgery equipment in Nigeria and Africa. Yet, indications are rife that more awesome innovations and inventions could be underway from the stable of Save A Life Group.

That, again, is good news for the world.

Epitome of inspiration

To say that Dr Richard Okoye is an inspiration to the Nigerian/African youths is an understatement.

His entire life’s experiences – how he nurtured his vision and defied all discouraging odds to sustain it until he achieved success – should be an inspiration and lesson to all young men and women, including young medical doctors and those in other professions, that they can achieve success and make positive impact in life irrespective of what may be deemed unfavourable or disadvantaged backgrounds and discouraging social systems.

Dr Richard Okoye has proved that every good dream/ vision can be actualised as long as the dreamer/visioner has self-belief, self-confidence, focus, diligence, courage, passion, determination, discipline, integrity andhardwork.

His story, like those of all great men that history is replete with, shows that success in life lies in demonstrating these qualities and not just on prayer and fasting or cutting of corners, as most of our youths today tend to believe.

In a nutshell, Dr Richard Okoye’s story can serve as a success equation which the teeming African youths can adopt and apply in their quest to overcome the challenges seemingly posed by the socio-economic and political systems of their countries and soar higher above the perceived limits of achievement.

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