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Lack of infrastructure to get crucial blood supplies compounds maternal deaths in Nigeria

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Mrs Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder, LifeBank, an NGO, says lack of infrastructure to get crucial blood supplies in Nigeria has compounded the problem of maternal deaths.

Giwa-Tubosun made the assertion at the “Temie Giwa-Tubosun’s LifeBank Video watch” organised by Goggle, on Wednesday in Lagos, ahead of the 2019 World Blood Donor Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Day is celebrated every June 14 to help discussion on the need to donate blood freely to save lives.

Giwa-Tubosun said that to celebrate the World Blood Donor Day, Google is using its voice to highlight the need for people to donate blood through a spotlight campaign showcasing the work done by LifeBank.

According to her, Nigeria has some of the lowest blood donation rates in the world, with just 10 per cent of the population donating freely.

“Underlining the need for blood donations is the fact that Nigeria has the fourth-highest maternal mortality rate in the world, accounting for 19 per cent of all maternal deaths globally.

“Postpartum haemorrhaging (the loss of too much blood following birth) is the leading cause of such deaths,” she said.

Toward addressing this issue, Giwa-Tubosun said that her organisation, LifeBank, was working to get more Nigerians to donate blood, and also to get the blood safely to the patients who need it most urgently.

The LifeBank founder said that the second of these mandates is fulfilled by using a digital platform, which sorts orders based on urgency, location, and price.

“Dispatch riders move blood in boxes that are padlocked and can only be opened by the recipient using a Bluetooth connection or key.

“In the race to get blood to patients, every second counts.

“Donated blood has a shelf life of just six weeks. Often, it expires before it is ever used because doctors are unable to locate the type of blood that they need.

“The doctors who need the blood and the blood banks who are discarding blood needed to somehow find a way to communicate with each other, ” says Giwa-Tubosun.

She said using the Google Maps Platform to create an interface for these once-disconnected entities by mapping each location involved in blood distribution across Lagos– from hospitals to blood banks to the delivery drivers– has given us a solution.”

“To date, LifeBank has signed up over 5,800 new donors, moved over 13,800 pints, served 300-plus hospitals, and saved more than 4,000 lives.

“Today, as part of the build-up to the World Blood Donor Day, Google is using its voice to highlight the need for people to donate blood through a spotlight campaign showcasing the work done by LifeBank and Giwa-Tubosun.”

Also, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Brand and Reputation, Google Sub-Saharan Africa said: “Organising information and making it accessible is at the heart of Google’s mission.

“LifeBank’s system shows just how much magic can happen when universally accessible tools and information meet human creativity, aspirations and resilience,” Aderemi-Makinde said.

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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