According to The UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, in 2017, Nigeria had the 6th highest child mortality rate. That is 100 deaths per 1,000 live births.
This implies that the chances of a Nigerian child dying before their 5th birthday are 1 in 10. A ratio that’s approximately 21 times the average of developed countries.
Among the causes, in countries with struggling health systems, includes preventable diseases. Diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Pneumonia, an infection that inflames the air sacs in the lungs and limits oxygen intake, is the highest killer of Nigerian children under 5.
Against this backdrop, Nigeria's LifeBank - a medical distribution startup - launched Airbank. An on-demand emergency oxygen delivery service. The startup believes that with the service, they will "reduce Nigeria’s child mortality rate caused by limited access to oxygen".
The process is simple. A hospital makes a call to LifeBank requesting for emergency medical oxygen. 50 minutes later, the startup makes the delivery.
LifeBank says that improved access to oxygen can reduce childhood pneumonia fatalities by 35%. "In Nigeria where about 177,000 children die annually from pneumonia, at least 61,950 children can be saved annually by making oxygen readily available".
Before adding oxygen delivery, the startup had been working on the blood shortage problem in Nigeria. By connecting hospitals to blood banks, and blood banks to donors.
"We connect donors through mobile infrastructure and built a discovery platform where hospitals can request the blood they need".
They deliver the blood requested in less than 45 minutes, in a WHO Blood Transfusion Safety compliant cold chain.
Founded in 2015 by Temie Giwa Tubosun, the startup has raised at least $225,000 in funding to date. At the beginning of this year, they announced a $200,000 seed round for an 18 months runway.
Investors in the round included EchoVC Partners, a Lagos-based venture capital firm. Fola Laoye, an angel investor with over 20 years of experience in Nigeria’s healthcare industry also participated.