Finalist category: Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award
Finalist, Tech4Good for Africa Award, 2017
A revolutionary mobile blood bank
Nigeria’s first online and mobile blood bank is revolutionising the country’s blood supply system. The Haima Health Initiative uses digital technology to get blood to people who are in dire need using a mobile and web platform that connects voluntary blood donors with patients, using real-time data and GPS.
Over 100 volunteers across 5 states in Nigeria have been trained how to use the system and how to encourage people to sign up. Donors are registered both digitally and manually – once a request comes in, a match is searched for and a call is put out to nearby donors.
Over 100-000 children die annually in Nigeria from complications related to anemia- Sickle Cell Disorder and a shortage of blood supply. In low income countries there is a huge demand for blood transfusion, mostly because of complications in pregnancy or children under 5 suffering anaemia.
“With a population of over 170 million Nigeria needs an estimated 1.4 to 1.7 million pints of blood per annum. But only about 38% of this demand is met,” said Chiedozie Nwafor from Haima Health Initiative.
Without a centralised virtual blood bank people who need blood transfusions are dying. Blood costs a lot of money too, with one pint currently costing more the the Nigerian monthly minimum wage (20-000 Naira or $50). Patients often have to rely on family members for donations, but that’s not always possible.
The Haima Health Initiative know tech is only part of the solution. They are trying to change attitudes towards blood donations and help people understand why it’s important. So far, they have inspired over 500 youths to regularly donate blood and educated them on the importance of blood donation and blood health.
At the moment, they are constructing an uber-like-app to match donors to recipient. Social media including, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is also widely used to send out emergency blood requests and to encourage people to sign-up as voluntary blood donors.
Next, they will fully launch of their mobile phone app across the whole of Nigeria. Chiedozie Nwafor said,“Our target is that within the next decade- we must have revolutionised the blood supply chain system in Nigeria.”