SENEGAL • An interface called Hope is saving lives by offering a solution to blood shortages in Senegal.
"Hope is a Web-based and mobile digital platform that allows blood banks and other healthcare facilities to manage blood stocks and to communicate interactively at any time with blood donors, while raising awareness of the importance of giving blood," said Cameroonian engineer Evelyne Ines Ntonga.
She is the co-founder of Diambars Mobiles, a start-up that launched Hope, with Mr Jean Luc Semedo of Senegal. Both are alumni of the Multinational Telecommunications School of Dakar.
The engineers have created a form of ongoing interaction between blood banks and donors.
The platform includes a mobile app that allows users to send text messages and conduct voice calls in a variety of local languages so that Hope can reach more people.
Families and healthcare facilities often face a race against time when looking for a donor with a rare blood type.
"When an urgent situation arises, the platform sends emergency SMS messages to all compatible donors in the same geographical area," Ms Ntonga said.
Hope is well-adapted to large healthcare facilities such as the National Centre for Blood Transfusion of Senegal, which hosted the pilot phase of the project for seven months in 2016.
"During this period, we reached nearly 30,000 people across all our platforms. What's more, thanks to our solution, the number of blood donations in this centre has more than tripled," said Ms Ntonga.
The start-up won the 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from mobile network operator Tigo and Swedish NGO Reach For Change. The innovation also received the Global South eHealth Observatory Award from the Pierre Fabre Foundation.