Helping to save the lives of the vulnerable using IoT technology
Trep Labs is a Nigerian healthcare startup founded by Taofeek Olalekan and Alayande Abdulwaheed in 2018. The duo is on a mission to empower medical professionals across Africa by providing them with access to affordable clinical tools, both medical devices and software.
Together, Taofeek and Alayande wanted to help build a society where easy access to medical facilities would improve planning, processes and productivity in healthcare. However, current medical solutions produced in the USA or UK did not fit into Africa’s rapidly emerging infrastructure. As a result, the duo wanted to create a connected device built specifically to suit the African healthcare scene.
Having lost loved ones themselves, putting a stop to preventable deaths in developing African countries was important to both Taofeek and Alayande. As a result, they conceptualized a device that monitored I.V. drip fluid delivery for patients. In Nigeria, the infusion process was dependent on practitioners who had to manually calculate the drip rates and thus prone to error. With the right technology to ensure accurate fluid delivery, Trep Labs could help reduce the types of risks that could be fatal for pregnant women and babies.
However, as final year engineering students, they lacked the resources and mentorship to help make their concept a reality.
Alayande and Taofeek applied to the Facebook Accelerator Program, partnering with mentors and technology experts to engineer an affordable, scalable device that health professionals could easily integrate and administer to patients safely and securely. With extensive technical guidance from Facebook Partner Engineer, Michael Hantler, the founders were able to set up their website and integrate relevant APIs. Addressing what is easier said than done, in a series of workshops, they really honed in on building their product with purpose and making it a device that people wanted.
Combining both hardware and software, they developed a prototype of “REALDRIP”, a non-invasive device that made blood transfusion and drip treatment simpler and safer by continuously monitoring and automating the process. It takes the guesswork out of moderating I.V. flows by relying on Internet of Things (IoT) technology to set flow rates, monitor dosage and track treatment time.
The system allows for two-way communication (M2M), and the data aggregated from the device is displayed and stored in a cloud database for real-time analysis. Beyond this, the device uses a web dashboard to track and visualise the treatment process, providing health professionals with alerts and updates about patients’ medical condition.
Example. For illustration purposes only.
The Facebook Accelerator Program proved to be a remarkable learning experience for Alayande and Taofeek. “We worked with other young and vibrant individuals in the program, and were one step closer to solving some of the most significant challenges faced by the continent. We were continually reminded that we were not alone, and confident that as long as we are equipped with the right resources and mindsets, our futures would be bright.”
The Facebook Accelerator program helped Alayande and Taofeek obtain critical funding to launch the business. It also introduced them to one of the most extensive federal-owned medical research facilities in the region, the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research*, which is a vital healthcare regulation stakeholder in the country. Working closely with the institution’s researchers, they were able to make product improvements and secure approvals. The duo achieved the following results:
- Over $60,000 USD raised in additional funding as a result of presenting a working and patented prototype
- Ethical and clinical approval from Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR)* and Federal Medical Center (FMC) Lagos,* secured for REALDRIP
- 40 units of REALDRIP devices deployed and in preparation for mass production to serve certain clinics
- Over 34 clinics, or 3,500 beds contracted to receive REALDRIP devices by Trep Labs
“The Facebook Accelerator Program is one of the best deep-tech accelerators, and is packed with a plethora of tools and resources to help you run a successful startup. The value of the network is fantastic, allowing us to swiftly transform our product from concept to reality. The guidance we received allowed us to address our community’s medical needs, and protect the most vulnerable from harm.”
-Alayande Abdulwaheed and Taofeek Olalekan, Trep Labs
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