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The Flying Doctor: Sex, Food, Drugs & Davido



I am sitting up in Wings, the restaurant at the top of our office block at the airport and the latest Davido video comes on. Naturally, he is surrounded by women, alcohol and has a few fast cars parked outside his building. I think what artists sing about and the images they portray are simply a reflection of what society wants to hear.

Right now, majority of Nigerians measure success according to how many women they can sleep with, how much champagne they can drink, how many fast cars they can buy and what designer labels they can wear. So Davido follows that trend, dishing out our fantasies in droves. This is wonderful for his bank balance, but this lifestyle sucks in terms of the way it’s affecting our health.

In terms of healthcare, we are facing a double threat. Firstly, from what I will call the ‘unfinished business’ of infectious disease, then also a new threat from the lifestyle diseases. The spread of infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria and TB can be stopped completely in the next 5 -10 years if an aggressive approach is embraced by all stakeholders within the healthcare sector.

I call it unfinished business because we should have been done tackling these diseases long-ago so we could concentrate fully on how to manage lifestyle diseases. Malaria has been completed eradicated in several countries some with larger populations that Nigeria.

However, lifestyle and popular culture are much harder to change. HIV is spread by sex. Condoms do not offer 100% protection against all STD’s including HIV, they offer some protection. But our culture promotes promiscuity, belittles women’s rights and makes it difficult to punish perpetrators of rape and abuse. This in turn has given us a very laissez faire attitude to multiple sexual partners, child marriage and sexual abuse.
This is bad for the country economically, but has catastrophic consequences to our sexual health. We currently have the highest number of people living with HIV in the world in Nigeria and this number is growing.
It is growing along with the numbers of people infected with other STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis and herpes.

Our lifestyle is not just affecting our sexual health, it stems to other areas as well. Our food in Nigeria is delicious, but can be cooked in healthier ways. We desperately need to reduce our salt consumption to reduce the prevalence of hypertension. Many of our dishes such as ‘akara’ and ‘dodo’ contain extremely high levels of fat that predispose us to heart disease and strokes.

Many of Nigeria’s urban poor no longer walk anywhere. We will take ‘okada’ or ‘kekenapep’ to destinations that are actually just a 30 minute walk from us. This sedentary lifestyle has engulfed us urbanites.
There are very few gyms even in Lagos and Abuja that are economically viable as so few people go.

Cigarettes are also very cheap, meaning that both the rich and the poor in Nigeria smoke. Then there’s alcohol. For the poor it is often a form of escapism; for the rich popping six bottles in the club is a status symbol. For both the rich and the poor, the combination of lax sexual health, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol consumption and poor diet are ensuring that the lifestyle diseases will be causing death and illness across Nigeria for decades to come.

However, there is a bright side. The tools we need to conquer the lifestyle diseases are in our own hands, in our homes, in our nightclubs, with our friends. We need to change the way we live, change the way we eat, change the way we view relationships and monogamy.

Then perhaps the next Davido video will be filmed in a gym, with him drinking fruit juice and eating museli or salad with his wife.
Ola Orekunin is a medical doctor, a trainee helicopter pilot and an entrepreneur who founded West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service, the Flying Doctors Nigeria which saves hundreds of lives across the region every year. She is extremely passionate about healthcare in Africa and works with various foundations, charities and governments to improve standards of healthcare. Follow her on Twitter: @naijaflyingdr


  1. Thatgidigirl

    November 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm


  2. lilz

    November 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    “Then perhaps the next Davido video will be filmed in a gym, with him drinking fruit juice and eating museli or salad with his wife.” LMAOOOOO

    But does Akara have that much fat?

    • natty

      November 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      It is fried with oil

    • Just saying...

      November 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      hahahahahahahaha @ ‘with his wife’

    • TA

      November 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      If you want to know how much oil Akara packs in a single ‘ball’,squeeze one such akara ball into a white kitchen paper napkin…
      Personally,I have been on the search for a healthier way to eat Akara,but alas there’s none,(like the southern natives in yankee will tell you aint no healthy way to eat the southern fried chicken). Only alternative is to fry it in Canola or other such ‘healthy’ oils that boast no cholesterol but the taste is never the same!
      Ah! Nothing beats the taste of Akara deep fried in palm oil and washed down with my glass of zobo. 🙂 The only thing is to reduce your portion or the frequency at with you eat such meals. I have restricted mine to once in 2 months on ‘environmental sanitation saturday where I have as many shrimps encrusted akara as I can consume with my bowl of Ijebu garri on the rocks. Lol! 🙂

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      November 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      what about steaming them the way the chinese do with dumplings? Although, I personally don’t know the first thing about making akara and could therefore be talking rubbish…

    • TA

      November 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      @ My one and only Mz SA,you mean to tell me,you don’t know a thing about fried Akara?! Oh dear,then I can’t help you. Lol! 🙂 But I can tell you this for free; ‘aint no way Akara can be cooked except deep fried,otherwise the Akara becomes something else like moi moi’.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      November 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Of course!! Akara & moimoi come from the same
      mixture of beans, how can it not turn mushy if you attempt to steam
      it? *smacks head with palm* However, I still see potential in the
      technique for making dumplings. Maybe it’s time I got a food

    • Jo!

      November 29, 2013 at 9:52 am

      @MZ Socially… Actually darling you are are talking rubbish :D. That would be moin moin
      (and by the way this is totally off butI have a pet peeve about people writing it as moimoi, it is moiN-moiN. ok)

    • TA

      November 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Lol! Yeah,and the day someone comes up with a healthier technique for deep frying Akara,I shall personally nominate the person for Noble prize in Science. He!he!h!

    • Cy

      February 3, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Try making them like you do pancakes…

    • nonye

      November 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      that line slayed me!!!

    • comments

      November 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      the sentence really cracked me up

    • Ms E

      January 8, 2014 at 2:56 am

      lmaoooooooooooooooooooooooo kai naija for life

  3. Idak

    November 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for this piece. Covers the bases. Our present lifestyle, not just sexual part is a ticking time bomb.

  4. damisho

    November 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    abeg let artists do thier work!!! go and tell the leaders of the country this , not a 21 yr old boy making bank! entertainers are exactly what they are… ENTERTAINERS!!!! they are not responsible for potraying the simple average EVERYDAY life!!!! im sick and tired of pple always critising videos and artist saying o, y is the girl dressed like this, must they show women, ITS ENTERTAINMENT!!!!

    • [email protected]

      November 28, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      The change you seek starts with you. America has a problem today because in their words you can not regulate morality. Gun violence,rape,teenage pregnacy,peodphilias etc has plagued their society they spend billions of tax payers dolars mainiting their prisons and tax force for police and fbi ciathe reason tuface was very succesful is that we where tired of the trash coming through outv from the states

    • TA

      November 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      @ damisho! Calm down ok? Let’s look at it this way,if you want information or entertainment,where do you turn to? The mass media & in recent times,social media. Now,young persons (adolescents,teenagers,preteens etc) all turn to these same forum for information and entertainment. If what they see most of the time,glorifies sex,luxury,alcohol,portraying women as sex objects, and generally encouraging a life on the fast lane can influence them to think such behaviour is not only acceptable but normal. For example,research has shown(not to bore you with statistical details) that almost all convicted murderers and serial killers especially were addicted to pornography and also that people who listen to death/heavy metal,hardcore rock/rap are more prone to depression and often have suicidal tendencies. My point is this; what people regularly feed themselves with via entertainment regularly influences them greatly so Nigerian artistes should show their creativity beyond asking women to shake their booty or boasting about how many bottles of champagne they can pop in one night or the girls they could sleep with easily.No one is asking them to sing about God either,there are tons of other issues that we can sing and dance to besides raunchy stuff

    • tybay

      November 29, 2013 at 1:04 am

      You make brain jor!!! Very sensible

  5. Kidult

    November 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Great article! theres a reason I dont like to walk for 30mins though. The Sun, mud, sand and okada and keke napep taking my right of way

    • Jo!

      November 29, 2013 at 10:07 am

      Thank you, my exact thoughts. Have you tried walking the streets of Lagos when it rains? It is absolutely disgusting, drainages spilled on the streets along with the attendant trash, the whole place stinking up to the high heavens. Nah
      Anytime I do, I just want to strip my clothes put in a paper bag and BURN. and then thoroughly disinfect myself before i step into my house.

  6. yoo

    November 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I doesn’t matter, it happens more in america. And its been happening.

    • Idak

      November 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      So how does the fact that it happens in America negate the point she is making?

  7. Ebun

    November 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Spot on!

  8. eniola

    November 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    sighs* if only…

  9. TA

    November 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    *frequency at which

  10. AA

    November 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    sigh… you can preach it doctor, but they will not listen. And when they have kidney failure and what not, they will come here like always and ask for donations to care for their ailing health, five wives and fifty children using the name of Jesus to guilt trip us. C’est la vie!

  11. Busola Adedire

    Oluwabusola Adedire

    November 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I love this… Very apt and succinct.

  12. merci

    November 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    great article! even as America has its immorality they still give high premium to health and education. talent hunt dis, talent hunt dt, how many organisations give scholarships dis days. Our students are at home becos of ASUU. Our health sector nko (lets not even go there).
    i dont completely blame Davido for his videos, hes trying to be successful.

  13. farbdoll

    November 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm


  14. nomad

    November 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    “Condoms do not offer 100% protection against all STD’s including HIV, they offer some protection.”

    I agree with most of your points above but I have to take exception to this. Demonising condoms does not help, in fact, it can be detrimental. Condoms may not have 100% protection but they (and only they at the moment) have well over 95% prevention rates for (but not ALL) STIs ESPECIALLY HIV WHEN PROPERLY USED and not fake. I agree that moral values takes some (a lot) of work but I’d rather push condoms at over 95% success on proper usage than nothing. Countries with low HIV rates are not markedly less promiscuous than Nigeria, what works is a safe and healthy attitude towards sex and not promoting unrealities.

    Otherwise (gets off soapbox) carry on

    • Idak

      November 28, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      If you are a guy, I owe you a hug. If a lady, I owe you a
      kiss. Very apt comment.

  15. Gbemmy

    November 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Walking instead of bikes or driving is not suitable for the harsh weather in Nigeria or potholes filled with dirty water and road users splashing water on you not even when the sun is buring into your skin , dear doc even too much sun has adverse effect on the body, asides that Nigerians are now very conscious, you need to see people on the new ikoyi bridge esp Saturday Mrng pple

  16. Special K

    November 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Great Article – We really arent trying to show the way to a better Nigeria. I have Uncles who died due to kidney problems and were chain smokers and heavy drinkers. Their sons are still popping bottles anyhow too. Then you hear of people who die of TB. TB in 2013. God, We really need to do better. We have a lot of catching up to do and looks like there is no real will to be better than our parent’s generations.

  17. Ayo

    November 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Important article. Nigerian culture is celebratory and aspirational but we should be careful what we promote. Whether we like it or not entertainers have become major role models especially for young people. We can’t afford to make western lifestyle choices because they come at a very high price.

  18. Iyke

    November 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    ‘A medical doctor, a trainee helicopter pilot and an
    entrepreneur’ …Now that’s what a definition of WOMAN who knows
    her worth, is. Tell me, how and why would a man ever in his right
    mind, disrespect such a woman? Lady, I salute you for knowing your
    worth. You are the ROLE MODEL that every Nigerian lady should

  19. TA

    November 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    @ Dr Ola Orekunrin. Kudos to you for the article. Nice read.
    @ BN,Please could you feature Ola Orekunrin in the Move Back to Nigeria series? and make una ask better questions o! Ehen,am just saying…

  20. Tincan

    November 28, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you for this. So apt. The other thing I have been thinking of is the proliferation of alcoholic companies in Nigeria. I may be showing my age now but I only remember the harps, guinnesses’ and stars and basic beers back in the day, now it’s Johnny walker this, Remy martin that. I hope Nigeria is not slowly going to become a nation of alcoholics. As for sexual health, you only need to watch that batta box clip that was on here a few weeks back… It’s scary.

  21. X- Factor

    November 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm


  22. yemi

    November 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    good stuff. I have told my folks we have double trouble but now i see its trippled.
    1. we still have infectious diseases running around, fighting TB, HIV and malaria, Diarrhoea, pneumonia and measles in children.
    2. we added western (majorly american) lifestyle-the negative part of it, junk food, remote controls, alcohol and and reduced physical activities
    3. Poor health facilities, America is spending heavily for the unhealthy lifestyle of its populace and its drowning the health system and even the nation in debts but here we are having all these problems and a government that simply doesnt care. poor health facilities and a government that will never owe a month in paying militants but can owe residents doctors in a teaching hospital for 4 months. we have a population of people who will rather read rumors on their phone rather than read about their health conditions. just try and read what “enlightened people have to say about fibroids on nairaland”
    truth is we all have our role to play. you can start by checking our blog, we write about health issues with our population in mind

  23. FJD

    November 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    @ “Then perhaps the next Davido video will be filmed in a gym, with him drinking fruit juice and eating museli or salad with his wife.” LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  24. Mandie

    November 28, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Well thought-out and timely article! However, I think d
    direct attack on Davido is unnecessary as the matter cuts across
    bothers. Now the poor boy will come with a retort and pple start
    taking sides and d whole essence of d msg will be lost in

  25. frances

    November 29, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Preach,preach,preach Ma! Truely true! We need to make some
    changes to our lifestyle(s)God knows we need it. Btw,keep up the
    good work,u r proof that not all women are fishbrained,let’s look
    for what we are passionate about/can do/can add to the world and do
    that in a positive way…

  26. Baker Street

    November 29, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Word… There is shift from communicable diseases to non communicable diseases in Africa. Obesity and other life style habits must be checked. We need to start promoting healthy life style (s). Campaigns like the five a day campaign in the UK should be introduced in our country. The ministry of health must do something.

  27. NNENNE

    November 29, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Nice article but next time please be more objective… use analogies that do not mention anyone’s name. A lot of people are guilty. Not just celebrities.

  28. Ohmine

    November 29, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Spot on! “The tools we need to conquer the lifestyle
    diseases are in our own hands, in our homes, in our nightclubs,
    with our friends. We need to change the way we live, change the way
    we eat, change the way we view relationships and

  29. Dipo

    November 29, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Well said, very interesting POV.

  30. Radiant

    November 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    The article gets us to rethink our habits. Nothing to get mad about.

  31. richard akpan

    November 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    couldn’t say better than that

  32. JDKM

    November 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I cannot believe that such a beneficial article will solicit some of the harsh comments I have read here. The likes of the mentioned musician and those who embrace his lifestyle are not aware that time soon catches up with you. (Unfortunately and very sadly too he is not the only one). Truth is, YOU ARE NOT YOUNG FOREVER and pretty soon you will REAP what you are sowing NOW.

  33. JDKM

    November 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I cannot believe that such a beneficial article will
    solicit some of the harsh comments I have read here. The likes of
    the mentioned musician and those who embrace his lifestyle are not
    aware that time soon catches up with you. Truth is, YOU ARE NOT
    YOUNG FOREVER and pretty soon you will REAP what you are sowing

  34. saphyah

    November 29, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    To be frank, I only clicked on the article cos of the title
    ; Flying Doctor……………………..and Davido! The article
    makes sense, my only fear is what Davido’s fans will have to say
    about it. By the way Doc, I admire you a lot!

  35. Philip Okiche

    November 29, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Spot on. Best article ever

  36. Dr. N

    November 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Good one! It’s a dangerous cycle. Encouraging habits that endanger the lives of not only the stars, but the common man on the strrets. What do I mean? You tell a young adult that ladies like to shake their booty, that they mean Yes when they say No, that getting rich at all cost is the way to go, that drinking endlessly is cool. Who suffers from the effects of the brain washing? The girl who tries to refuse his advances, the driver driving ahead of him, the family left to donate kidneys to him. Let’s join our voices to oppose this trend. You can sing about love without being graphic.

  37. zsa zsa

    November 29, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    For folks complaining about not being able to walk in Lagos
    (i grew up in lagos so i understand), get a jump/skipping rope…find
    a shaded area and jump! Very effective i promise.

  38. Omolomoo

    November 30, 2013 at 12:23 am

    While I agree with you totally I did not think it was
    necessary to mention Davidos name…..if he take it personal and
    makes a response then people will cal him arrogAnt…a lot of other
    celebrities do it……celebrities are humanoo and we should
    consider their feelings when we make comments..

  39. nikky

    November 30, 2013 at 2:07 am

    OK lemme rant. It is absolutely true that health care in Nigeria is not the best by any measure, even our leaders do not use the system. Lifestyle in the other hand especially with mass media all flocking to the trend of alcohol, sex etc can only be harmful if you allow these things to influence you. The operating word here is choice. For the mere fact that Davido and other entertainers constantly parade the same message of sex, alcohol, luxurious cars et Al does not mean I’m going to buy into it. Asking people to change their lifestyle, or what they eat, or walking instead of taking okada especially in Nigeria is a little odd to me.

    Polygamy (the official version of multiple sex partners) for instance is pretty much a part of who we are, in fact if anything i’d rather a gender neutral polygamous situation where the people in the relationship make decisions that works for them.
    On the food matter, I agree I just think the oil and salt thing is because people don’t know better, if they can be educated in anyway at all I bet the health issues around that will drastically reduce.
    Finally your profile is a huge inspiration, i hope your organization gets funding and other resources that will allow people to receive health care.

  40. The Mane captain (healthy hair & skin tips)

    December 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    sex scenes, promiscuity and women abouse in movies seems to be normal now. While i agree that certain places in Nigeria can be unfit for pedestrians, not everywhere in Nigeria is as bad.
    Although some Nigerian foods can be unhealthy, I believe portion control is key in having a healthy diet. eating few pieces of dodo once or twice a week won’t raise your cholesterol level significantly. I find Nigerians tend to eat in large portions and that’s why you have so many men, particularly the rich with big stomachs. You don’t need to eat solid rock eba the size of mount kilomanjaro with the entire animals in the safari to show you’re wealthy. also, i belive sofetening those solid foods by increasing the water contents in them will digest the foods quickly and it won’t make you feel weak like most solid foods does.

  41. Berry

    December 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Lifestyle behavior matters ALOT in improving ones health. Nonetheless, other factors such as where people live and work and even their income status affects their lifestyle. We should not always blame individuals for their health predicaments. Perhaps if our government can create public gyms in local area or even safe sidewalks, more people would want to stay active. Employers should support employee wellness in the place of work so that their workers can stay active and continue to increase productivity. We can educate people about their health from today till thy kingdom comes, but if we fail to impact the environment in which they live and work, there will be very little impact.

  42. Lol

    December 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Good piece but Nigeria is not the country with the highest
    number of people living with HIV …..just saying though….instead
    of complaining about the problem like most people love to do, start
    by changing ur end and others will be affected…..finally which
    country larger than Nigeria has completely eradicated
    malaria?…please get ur facts right….malaria is still prevalent
    in Asia and Infact, resistance to artemisinin has emerged
    sef……I don’t mean to sound harsh though dr Ola, I admire u a
    lot but I just needed to point that out..

  43. Lifestyle

    February 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Unnecessary vain exhibition of material property on Instagram is adding to future rise of social vices. The ones you expect are from rich homes fluent expensive stuff like they have never seen or used them all their lives while the poor ones will get into heaven knows what to get similar stuff. SMH

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