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Uploaded:2014-09-09
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A special bonus video in which John Green and Microsoft founder Bill Gates talk about how Ethiopia has reduced its infant mortality dramatically in the past twenty years.

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Good morning, Hank, it's Tuesday.

Bonus video time! So while I was in Ethiopia, I filmed several videos where I talked to Bill Gates about stuff. In this one, we talk about healthcare.

I'm gonna be uploading these every Tuesday for the next month or so - a couple hours before my regular Vlogbrothers video, so enjoy the bonus! And, you know.. the Bill Gates.

John: I'm wondering if you could just kind of talk me through what you just saw and what your questions were, and what you find encouraging about that, and, and any concerns that you have?

Bill: These primary healthcare facilities are how we've taken childhood death down from about 25% of all children to now about 5%. Getting the vaccines out so that every child gets all these vaccines, that's really hard, they have to be kept cold, and of course, most poor kids live in very rural areas, where there's not very good roads, not many trained workers. So Ethiopia created this system where at the lowest level, there's a health-post, and here, we're at this health center. Some of the regions, particularly where people are pastoral and move around a lot, that's still where they have less than 30% vaccination rates. The rest of the country is up at about 75%, and there's a plan to get it up to 90%.

John: So can you talk about a little bit about how, how we know that the reduction in infant mortality is related to this dramatic improvement in sort of last mile healthcare delivery?

Bill: The statistics from poor countries are often very poor. The one statistic that's really good is the number of children who die. Tragically, in a lot of countries, uh, that was very very high, and because it was a limited number of infectious diseases, by getting the right vaccines to these poor countries, we've cut those death rates down a lot. Another huge tragedy beyond death, is that even the kids who survive don't physically or mentally fully develop, and there you've got to lower the burden of the disease a lot. You've got to get good sanitation, and you've got to get good food.  Now, the other thing about health is that as more children survive, amazingly, mothers choose to have less children. And so, the whole population growth challenge, which is: Can I feed? Can I educate? Can I provide jobs? That becomes more achievable, and then you get out of the poverty trap. And so, health is not the only thing, but it is, in my view, the central thing, the thing you really have, you have to get that right, or else the country will not be able to, uh, keep its children alive and support itself.