28 Jul A race for life; wheels, wings and more
ON Research talks to 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 to 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 saved over 9,000 lives.
What challenges inspired the creation of LifeBank? and how are challenges in your operating markets today reiterating the importance of the work you do?
LifeBank was created to address one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, postpartum hemorrhage. We identified that most mothers bleed out when the 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 availability of medical oxygen and financial constraints. We are constantly innovating around the supply chain to provide technological solutions to these challenges, one of such innovative services is AirBank, an emergency on-demand delivery of medical oxygen and BOAT (Blood and Oxygen Access Trust), a trust fund setup to provide blood and oxygen to low-income patients at no cost. We are providing tremendous impact in the lives of every patient by promoting good health and wellbeing.
You operate an innovative solution in a unique business environment, what aspect of your model is enabling business growth?
Our business model is patient centred, 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 in particular and in turn expand the growth of our business.
The Africa Continental Free Trade Area, although delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, will create the largest free trade area in the world. What impact do you think this will have on your industry?
We believe that anything that improves regional integration is a win for the African people and when Africans win, so does LifeBank. LifeBank’s business is always needed as the majority of medical needs are unexpected, hence the quest to ensure that our services are readily available and accessible. Our operations team will continue 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 that allows us to build beneficial partnerships that can propel our services and overall impact.
What impact if any do you think this will have on the development and supply of technologies like drones?
Drones are critical in delivering critical supplies to hard to reach areas with little or no road networks. LifeBank aims to use technology to predict healthcare demands, and strong partnerships 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.
With a delivery model already operating on all three major forms of transport, what else have you set your eyes on and what does the future hold for LifeBank?
LifeBank uses the best mobility system suited for every area 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 and ensure universal healthcare access to all. Our team is also looking to explore waterways deliveries in South-South Nigeria and we will 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 and achieve our mission which is to save as many lives, whatever it takes, anyhow, anywhere.