Why this 35-year-old Nigerian entrepreneur calls herself ‘the Amazon of healthcare’

Abu Mubarik May 04, 2022
Temie Giwa-Tubosun. Photo credit: https://www.middlebury.edu/

Temie Giwa-Tubosun is a Nigerian social entrepreneur and founder of LifeBank, a company she began as a startup with two employees. The company facilitates moving blood from labs across Nigeria to patients and doctors in hospitals. She started the company, which was then an app, with her savings.

The company uses technology to collect inventory data from blood banks and supply blood that had already been screened by the labs to hospitals based on a request, according to Aljazeera. LifeBank receives requests 24/7.

When Giwa-Tubosun first began operation, she relied on dispatch riders. LifeBank has now transformed into a digital medical distribution company, delivering not only blood but other medical supplies like oxygen, plasma and vaccines to hospitals.

It offers 24-7 service to more than 500 hospitals in its network and aims to provide access to safe blood in under 45 minutes using bikes, boats, adult tricycles and drones, LifeBank founder Giwa-Tubosun told Aljazeera, adding that she is also planning to expand to Ethiopia.

Since she secured a pre-seed investment of $25,000 to get the company into the premises of a business incubator, CcHUB, in a suburb of Lagos, she has been deliberate about places she invests in. “We look for large markets with disorganized health-supply chain systems where our innovation could drive significant impact,” she said.

Giwa-Tubosun was motivated to go into the supply of blood and other critical medical supplies after an encounter with an expectant mother. At the time, she was a 22-year-old working as an intern with a health services organization in northern Nigeria. The mother she met survived during labor but her baby didn’t.

That unfortunate incident, alongside the difficulties she had while giving birth to her own child, got Giwa-Tubosun thinking about blood. She was well aware that postpartum hemorrhaging was the leading cause of maternal mortality in Nigeria.

In her quest to find a solution, she won a fellowship at the WHO in Geneva in 2010 and worked on several health projects in Uganda and United States. She then established a nonprofit called One Percent Project to educate Nigerians on blood donations and distribute them well throughout the country.

She later founded LifeBank in 2016 to serve as a bridge between donors and clinics. Nigeria reportedly collects about 500,000 pints of blood annually, leaving a deficit of over 73 percent, according to Aljazeera.

As such, Giwa-Tubosun makes sure that she finds alternative means to get medical supplies to areas with a poor road network.

“I think of us as the Amazon of healthcare except we work only with hospitals,” the 35-year-old said. “We bring global standard procurements to African hospitals right on their platform.”

The Nigerian entrepreneur has won several awards thanks to her work saving lives. In 2019, she won the Jack Ma Foundation’s African Business Hero Award and the following year, she was given a Global Citizen Prize. Recently, at the Cartier Impact Awards ceremony in Dubai, she grabbed first place in the “Improving Lives” category.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 4, 2022


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