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A Race For Life; Wheels, Wings And More

ONResearch spoke with Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank, a medical distribution company that uses data, technology and smart logistics to improve the discoverability, delivery, affordability and safety of essential medical products such as blood and oxygen for hospitals in Nigeria and Kenya. Since its launch in 2016, LifeBank has moved over 23,000 units of critical medical products to 550+ hospitals and has saved over 9,000 lives.

What challenges inspired the creation of LifeBank?

LifeBank was created to address one of the leading causes of maternal mortality: postpartum hemorrhage. We identified that most mothers bleed out when hospitals cannot locate safe blood in emergency situations. After we launched, we became more aware of other factors that hinder access to quality healthcare like the availability of medical oxygen and financial constraints. We are constantly innovating around the supply chain to provide technological solutions to these challenges. One such innovative service is AirBank, an emergency on-demand delivery service of medical oxygen. Another is BOAT (Blood and Oxygen Access Trust), a trust fund setup to provide blood and oxygen to low-income patients at no cost.  By promoting good health and wellbeing we are able to have a tremendous impact on the lives of every patient.

How does your model enable business growth?

Our business model is patient centered. The core value of our business is in ensuring that patients have access to critical supplies needed on time and in the best condition. Speed, efficiency and innovation are what LifeBank is known for and that has enabled us to grow our client base, and in turn expand the growth of our business.

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area will create the largest free trade area in the world. What impact do you foresee this having on your industry?

We believe anything that improves regional integration is a win for the African people. And when Africans win, so does LifeBank. LifeBank’s services are always needed as most medical needs are unexpected, hence the quest to ensure that our services are readily available and accessible. Our operations team have continued to provide 24/7 services despite lockdowns and movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This free trade area will provide a unique opportunity to network with other international companies with interest in African healthcare, allowing us to build beneficial partnerships that can propel our services and overall impact forward.

What impact, if any, do you think this will have on the development and supply of technologies like drones?

Drones are vital for delivering critical supplies to hard to reach areas with little or no road networks. LifeBank aims to use technology to predict healthcare demands. The strong partnerships we are building with experts across Africa will be invaluable in the creation, growth, management, implementation and scalability of our innovations. We also look forward to the harmonization of Civil Aviation Rules across the African continent. This alone will ensure that drone deliveries are secured and scaled. 

What does the future hold for LifeBank?

LifeBank uses the best suited mobility system for each area in which we operate. We will expand our drone delivery through the horn of Africa region using Addis, Ethiopia as a hub. Ultimately, our goal is to expand beyond Nigeria, especially as we grow to serve more rural communities to ensure universal healthcare access for all. Our team is also looking to explore waterways deliveries in south Nigeria so we can connect medical facilities with critical supplies to ultimately improve access to good healthcare. With the recent viral outbreak, we are also focusing on delivering medical samples with a zero-contact delivery model that eliminates person-person transmission of infection. 

We will continue to innovate to save lives while making critical supplies accessible and affordable to everyone.  Our mission is to save as many lives as possible, whatever it takes, anyhow, anywhere.

Interviewed by Ugo Ikpeazu, Partnerships Coordinator and Research Associate at ONResearch, on July 23th, 2020.

Temie Giwa-Tubosun

Temie Giwa-Tubosun

Founder and CEO of LifeBank