Google Encourages Blood Donation to Save Lives

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Emma Okonji

Going by the global statistics, which explains that Nigeria has some of the lowest blood donation rates in the world, with just 10 per cent of the population donating freely, Google, is supporting LifeBank in ensuring that blood arrives safely and timely where and whenever it’s needed, through the Google Map.

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. According to experts views, postpartum hemorrhaging, which is the loss of blood through child birth, is the leading cause of deaths during child birth. The lack of infrastructure to get crucial blood supplies in Nigeria compounds this challenge.

To address the challenge, LifeBank, which is an intermediary between registered blood banks and the hospitals, is not only working to get more Nigerians to donate blood, but also to get blood safely to the patients who need it most urgently, while depending on Google Map for quicker road navigation.

LifeBank achieves this 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.

By designing a system to connect blood banks to hospitals via Google Maps Platform, LifeBank has been able to decrease delivery time from 24 hours to less than 45 minutes.

LifeBank Founder, Temie Giwa-Tubosun, at a demo session in Lagos recently, said: “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.”

“However, using the Google Map 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,” Giwa-Tubosun added.

According to her, 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.
“As the world celebrated World Blood Donor Day last week, 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. Google announced it is also supporting the creation of a short documentary due to be released later this year,” she said.

Head of Brand and Reputation, Google sub-Saharan Africa, Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, 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.”