LifeBank: Discovery + Delivery of Essential Medical Products
LifeBank uses data, smart logistics & technology to discover + deliver essential medical products, saving lives in hospitals across Nigeria
Every year in African hospitals, thousands of people die because essential medical supplies could not be found on time and in the right condition. This problem of essential supplies stock outs is so pervasive, it affects thousands of sickle cell anemia and surgery patients, accidents victims, and pregnant women. Postpartum hemorrhage is the biggest cause of maternal mortality in Africa, and Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world at 815 deaths per 100,000 live births. Available evidence estimates that 26,000 women, 17,500 children, 50,000 sickle cell patients, and 17,000 accident victims die in Nigeria due to the unavailability of blood.
Nigeria’s blood supply shortage problem is multifaceted. One facet of the problem is insufficient supply – not enough Nigerians are donating blood. In Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries, less than half of the required amount of blood is collected. Unfortunately, healthcare providers in these countries rely on paid donors to close this deficit. Because they are motivated by profit, paid donors tend to donate more frequently than it is safe and blood collected from them is less effective. Despite the WHO recommendation that 100% of a country’s blood supply come from voluntary blood donors, voluntary blood donors make up 10% of Nigeria’s blood supply with 60% of the country’s blood supply coming from paid donors, and 30% coming from friends and family replacement donors. Such a large percentage of paid donors contributes to the country’s high rate of transfusion-transmissible infections such as HIV. Nigeria has the second largest HIV disease burden in the world with 3.2 million infected people. Between 5-15% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa can be attributed to unsafe blood transfusions.
Another factor that contributes to Nigeria’s blood shortage problem is poor logistics. The absence of a centralized blood supply management body like the American Red Cross means there is no accurate information about the quantity and blood type available in the Nigeria at any given time. The commercial blood banks that meet most of the country’s blood needs operate in silos, thus, hospitals often go on timewasting, frustrating searches for blood.
LifeBank uses data, smart logistics and a combination of low technology like feature mobile phones and motorcycles, and high technology such as AI and blockchain, to discover and deliver essential medical products. LifeBank is currently working on the blood shortage problem in Nigeria by connecting hospitals to blood banks, and blood banks to donors. We use mobile infrastructure to create a community of voluntary blood donors through a mobile app, and build a discovery platform where hospitals can request the blood they need. LifeBank delivers the blood requested in less than 55 minutes, in a WHO Blood Transfusion Safety compliant cold chain. We are also developing a blockchain powered product, SmartBag, that records and preserves the integrity of information about the processes involved in blood supply. When scanned, the SmartBag gives hospitals access to the information about the donation, collection, screening, storage, and delivery procedures of blood products.
Watch our elevator pitch:
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Lagos, Nigeria
The dimensions of the Challenge our solution addresses:
If you selected other, please explain the dimension of the Challenge your solution addresses here:
What makes our solution innovative:
LifeBank uses the application of existing technology and the deployment of smart logistics to solve the entrenched problem of essential medical product shortage in Africa. Our discovery and delivery platform fills the gap left by the absence of a centralized blood management body by giving blood banks the avenue to list available inventory, information which can be accessed by hospitals who need these products. LifeBank combines forward looking high technology such as AI and blockchain with low technology ubiquitous in Africa such as motorcycles. Our use of motorcycles means lower operational costs, larger cargo space, and more lives saved.
How technology is integral to our solution:
Our core product, LifeBank Plus, is an essential medical product discovery application where hospitals can find the blood and request these products to be delivered to them.
Donors are the bedrock of a country’s blood supply, therefore, our strategy to ensure adequate supply is our donor application. Our donor app helps foster a culture of voluntary blood donation by making it easy for people to donate blood. Our app enables donors book appointments at the blood bank closest to them, and sends reminders to book their next appointment. This application also allows us mobilize people for blood drives.
Our solution goals over the next 12 months:
LifeBank is building the future of healthcare for Africa, starting with blood. Our goal is to win the Lagos blood market, launch in another Nigerian city and begin moving other essential medical products in the next 12 months.
Another goal is for our new innovation blockchain powered essential medical product integrity solution, SmartBag, to be used by blood banks and hospitals across Lagos State in the next 12 months.
Our vision over the next three to five years to grow and scale our solution to affect the lives of more people:
Our vision is to be the smart supply engine for Africa’s healthcare system and save 500,000 African lives in 10 years. We will scale using a hub-spoke model with cities like Lagos and Nairobi as our hubs and our cold chain vehicles as spokes. We will include drones in our delivery mechanism, allowing us reach rural areas quicker.
In addition to improving access to essential medical products, we are committed to improving the safety of these products. We aim to make blood transfusions safer through our SmartBag product by reducing the occurrence of transfusion transmissible infections (TTIs) such as HIV.
Our promotional video:
The key characteristics of the populations who will benefit from our solution in the next 12 months:
The regions where we will be operating in the next 12 months:
The countries where we currently operate:
Where we plan to expand in the next 12 months:
How we will reach and retain our customers or beneficiaries:
Although our ultimate beneficiaries are patients who need essential medical products like blood, our business model is B2B and our direct customers are hospitals. We currently reach them through boots on the ground sales efforts and online marketing. We will retain our customers by continuing to make the process of discovering and receiving essential medical products simpler, faster and cheaper.
We also currently reach the patients through social media campaigns educating them about the current state of blood supply and safety in Nigeria, and encouraging them to demand higher standards such as coldchain transportation should they need blood transfusions
How many people we are currently serving with our solution:
Before LifeBank, hospitals had to call several blood banks to find blood. This time-consuming process can have dire consequences for the patient. If found, the blood is often transported without a coldchain, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria proliferation which can result in serious health complications when transfused. LifeBank’s discovery platform helps hospitals quickly locate the blood they need. The delivery of blood through our smart logistics system and WHO Blood Safety Compliant coldchain means that blood gets to the hospitals in the right condition and on time. Since launch we have moved over 10,000 pints of blood.
How many people we will be serving with our solution in the 12 months and the next 3 years:
In 12 months, we will expand to Northern Nigerian, a region of the country with the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. We will also expand our product offerings to include essential medical products such as oxytocin which is used in the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage. We expect to see a noticeable decline in maternal mortality rates in this region after a year.
In 3 years, we plan to be in operations in 3 other African cities, serving the healthcare systems that support about 50 million people, deploying mobility tools allow us reach cities, villages and outposts in quicker.
How our solution team is organized:
Explaining our organization:
How many people work on our solution team:
How many years we have been working on our solution:
The skills our solution team has that will enable us to attract the different resources needed to succeed and make an impact:
I have over 10 years’ health management experience with DFID, WHO, UNDP, and Lagos State Government. Our Tech Lead has built healthcare and telecommunications solutions. Our Operations Lead has a track record of streamlining operational processes. Our Sales Lead’s pharmaceutical sales background won us 25% of Lagos’s blood market in 2 years. Our Finance Lead’s financial management expertise ensures we make sense of the business. Our Community Lead’s experience building communities for startups in Nigeria enhances our voluntary blood donor recruiting efforts, and our Partnerships Lead’s international experience managing startup client relations helps us form partnerships that enhance our business.
Our revenue model:
LifeBank is building the supply chain engine for Africa’s healthcare systems, starting with blood. Our current revenue model is to charge a small logistics fee of $8 for the discovery and delivery of blood. We will win the Lagos blood market, launch in another Nigerian city and begin moving other essential medical products within a year. We will scale our project using a hub and spoke model where hubs are created in strategic locations, and our dispatch bikes serve as spokes.
In addition to our core business of discovering and delivering essential medical products, we also plan to sell and license our technology products. For example, SmartBag, our blockchain powered essential medical product integrity solution, that records and preserves the integrity of information about the processes involved in blood supply, will be sold to blood banks and government health ministries. We also plan to offer consulting services to government health ministries that need assistance digitizing blood donor records and upgrading the technology used in their blood transfusion agencies.
We are positioned for long-term sustainability because the $541M essential medical product African market remains under explored and LifeBank is currently one of the few players in the space.
Why we are applying to Solve:
We are applying to Solve for the chance to win equity-free funding which, if gotten, will accelerate our expansion timeline. We are also applying for the opportunity to be part of Solve’s brilliant community committed to social impact. We believe that Solve can give us tactics on how best to hold on to our social impact goals while pursuing our business goals. Being a Solve finalist will also give us access to some of the most intelligent minds in the world who can provide feedback on our technology solutions and connect us to partnerships which can help scale our business.
The key barriers for our solution:
One of the key barriers to the success of our solution is foreign players with more capital coming into the marker and taking a significant market share. Solve can help tackle this issue by connecting us with larger, more established companies looking to partner with smaller, nimbler companies. For example, a partnership between LifeBank and a blood bag manufacturing company can help us scale our blockchain powered essential medical product integrity solution, SmartBag, by including our technology on their blood bag labels. The blood bag partner gets an innovation that distinguishes them from other blood bag manufacturers.
The types of connections and partnerships we would be most interested in if we became Solvers:
- Temie Giwa-Tubosun Founder and CEO, LifeBank