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Temie Giwa-Tubosun: Investing In Nigeria’s LifeBank

Temie Giwa-Tubosun is a woman on a mission. The founder of LifeBank, the first fully digital blood bank in the world, Temie Giwa-Tubosun has moved 14,394 bags of blood, gathered over 3000 donors and saved over 4000 lives. The self-described focused, calm and determined CEO of Nigeria’s first digital blood bank LifeBank has had compliments from global powerhouse CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg, been interviewed by news stations across the globe and has no intention of slowing down.

Standing in the pouring rain while she poses next to a LifeBank motorbike under a LifeBank umbrella, Temie Giwa-Tubosun gets an idea.

“We can send our drivers to people’s houses to donate blood and then we can take it to the hospital from there!” She tells her personal assistant excitedly, waving her arms as she speaks. “Write it down! Write it down!”

Temie Giwa-Tubosun. Photo: Guardian Life

Ideas seem to teem around Temie Giwa-Tubosun, but she says the genesis of the idea that would come to save over 4268 lives and counting, came to her in a very different setting.

“I became a Mom five years ago and was very lucky to be in the US and have access to the best doctors in the world. I had so many complications, the birth was premature, I had excessive bleeding, it was one problem after the other. And the only reason why I survived was because I had access to an excellent healthcare system. It made me think: what about the women who don’t?”

Postpartum haemorrhaging (PPH) is one of the leading causes of death in Northern Nigeria. Over 116,450 women die from it every year and Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a sufferer and survivor, is determined to stop it, one bag of blood at a time.

After living in Nigeria for six years, she and her parents moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota but the call of home became too loud to ignore and as a teenager, Giwa-Tubosun moved back. During an internship in Northern Nigeria, Giwa-Tubosun came face to face with the consequences of what happens in a country where blood transfusions aren’t accessible to its most vulnerable citizens.

“Women were dying in childbirth and I thought it was absolutely unacceptable!”

She worked to help instigate change but didn’t make it her life’s work until the birth of her son.

“If not for the access, I and my baby would not be alive. If I’d given birth in Nigeria, one of us or both of us would not have survived it and I think that was the final push that the universe sent to me to do this work. I left my job and moved back to Nigeria to do this work and I’ve been on this job ever since. ”

Temie Giwa-Tubosun. Photo: Guardian Life

Temie Giwa-Tubosun has designed a business model that surpasses all other alternative forms of healthcare infrastructure. LifeBank hires drivers to transport blood donors and blood bags to blood banks and hospitals. With LifeBank currently partnered to over 50 hospitals, society’s most vulnerable members are given a second chance at life. You can be a part of it and thanks to her it takes less than two minutes to sign up to change the world.

“After you’ve given blood you can tell us how it went by rating it online [LifeBank’s website]. Then you get an award: a very small award like coffee, just small gifts to say thank you for saving a life.”

Almost anyone can be a donor. As long as you’re between the ages of 18 and 65 and physically healthy you can give blood but Nigeria is a country rife with superstition, religious extremism and economic disparity. Giwa-Tubosun has done the impossible and managed to draw over 3000 donors but she says it isn’t enough and the only thing stopping potential donors are medical myths.

“People think you can get infections from donating blood, that is incorrect. If you work with LifeBank or any reputable blood bank they must use single-use needles. It’s improbable that you can get any kind of infection. Another misconception people have is donating blood is difficult or time tasking but it isn’t. Donating blood is so easy we have a blood drive service called “Pop Up Drive” where we bring the blood drive to you in your office.”

But the most dangerous misconception she claims is the belief that you don’t have enough blood.

“If you’re a healthy adult you have more than enough. The average is 14 bags and we’re only taking one.”

Grab a copy of Guardian Life today as she provides answers to blood-related questions, speaks on her journey, limitations and her drive to succeed.

In this article:
LifeBankTemie Giwa Tubosun
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