Temmi Giwa-Tubosun is a Nigerian social entrepreneur and the founder of LifeBank, which she started as a two-person startup. The company arranges for the transportation of blood from laboratories throughout Nigeria to patients and doctors in hospitals. With her savings, she founded the company, which was initially an app.
According to Aljazeera, the company uses technology to collect inventory data from blood banks and then supplies blood that has already been screened by labs to hospitals upon request. LifeBank accepts requests 24 hours a day.
Giwa-Tubosun initially relied on dispatch riders. LifeBank has evolved into a digital medical distribution company, supplying hospitals with not only blood but also oxygen, plasma, and vaccines.
It provides 24-hour service to more than 500 hospitals in its network and aims to provide safe blood in less than 45 minutes via bicycles, boats, adult tricycles, and drones, LifeBank founder Giwa-Tubosun told Aljazeera, adding that she plans to expand to Ethiopia as well.
Since securing a $25,000 pre-seed investment to relocate the company to the premises of a business incubator, CcHUB, in a Lagos suburb, she has been selective about where she invests. “We seek out large markets with disorganized health supply chain systems where our innovation has the potential to have a significant impact,” she explained.
Giwa-Tubosun was inspired to enter the blood and other critical medical supply business after meeting an expectant mother. She was a 22-year-old intern with a health services organization in northern Nigeria at the time. The mother she met during labor survived, but her baby did not.
This unfortunate incident, combined with the difficulties she encountered during her own child’s birth, got Giwa-Tubosun thinking about blood. She was well aware that in Nigeria, postpartum hemorrhage was the leading cause of maternal death.
In her quest for a solution, she was awarded a fellowship at the World Health Organization in Geneva in 2010 and worked on a variety of health projects in Uganda and the United States. She then founded a nonprofit organization called One Percent Project with the mission of educating Nigerians about blood donation and effectively disseminating it throughout the country.
In 2016, she founded LifeBank to act as a conduit between donors and clinics. According to Aljazeera, Nigeria collects approximately 500,000 pints of blood annually, leaving a deficit of more than 73%.
As such, Giwa-Tubosun ensures that alternate routes for medical supplies are found in areas with a deficient road network.
“I like to think of us as the Amazon of healthcare,” the 35-year-old explained. “We bring global procurement standards to African hospitals directly through their platform.”
The Nigerian entrepreneur has received numerous accolades for her efforts to save lives. She received the Jack Ma Foundation’s African Business Hero Award in 2019 and a Global Citizen Prize the following year. She recently won first place in the “Improving Lives” category at the Cartier Impact Awards ceremony in Dubai.