CNN ‘African Start-Up’ this week reports from Nigeria, profiling Temie Giwa-Tubosun, the founder and CEO of LifeBank, a start-up looking to tackle the difference between life and death.
LifeBank was established in 2015 following the difficulties Giwa-Tubosun found giving birth to her son, and to help a shortage of blood in Nigeria.
Using an app, LifeBank provides records of blood banks available all over Lagos, which allows health centres to find the relevant blood types and order for delivery. The company now delivers on average 300 pints of blood a month to more than 170 hospitals across the city.
Giwa-Tubosun outlines to ‘African Start-Up’ what inspired her to found LifeBank: “Blood is such an interesting problem. It’s a problem that kills so many people across the continent, across the world. And it’s a problem that we can solve with technology.”
LifeBank’s use of technology has both contributed to the growth of the start-up and aided patients by providing fast and adequate access to blood.
Giwa-Tubosun explains how technology is utilised by LifeBank to ‘African Start-Up’: “We like to think of ourselves at LifeBank as a technology and logistics start-up. We use technology to discover blood and deploy this information to hands of our hospital clients. Then we deliver the blood they ordered to their hospital within 55 minutes.”
‘African Start-Up’ reports that with a population of more than 180 million people, Nigeria needs as much as 1.7 million units of blood a year, according to Nigeria’s Ministry of Health.
Giwa-Tubosun believes through the LifeBank app, the process of donating blood will become more accessible in Nigeria, as she explains to ‘African Start-Up’: “It’s not a poor people problem, it’s not a rich people problem, it’s everybody’s problem… We like to think that we’ve made the blood donation easy and fun with our app.”
‘African Start-Up learns that one pint of blood can save three lives, and that LifeBank have aimed to make the process of donating blood as simple as possible.
Giwa-Tubosun outlines the process to donate blood to ‘African Start-Up’: “Let’s say you’re a donor, I register on the platform and I book an appointment, LifeBank finds the closest blood bank to you. It books an appointment for you at the blood bank. You go to the blood bank you give blood… We have about 3,000 donors registered on our platform who’ve agreed to give blood to save lives.”
With 25 blood banks supplying through the platform, Giwa-Tubosun explains to ‘African Start-Up’ how LifeBank is aiming to expand further across Lagos: “Our goal is to get to one million active donors for our donor app. We also have a goal to get to every hospital, every single hospital within Lagos in the next two years. One of the biggest challenges we face when we started LifeBank was the lack of infrastructure. We needed to build everything.”
Despite the infrastructure challenges faced by the start-up, Giwa-Tubosun remains hopeful for the future and the impact the application can have for healthcare in West Africa.
Giwa-Tubosun tells ‘African Start-Up’: “I’m so excited about the future of LifeBank. We are working on amazing tools that would be a game changer in the system. What we do is simple, is offer a service that, that makes a difference between life and death for so many people.”
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