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Uploaded:2014-09-29
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Bill Gates and John Green discuss progress in Ethiopia, designing technologies for poor countries, improving childhood nutrition, the blessings and limitations of capitalism, and Ethiopia's road to achieving middle-income status by 2025. Many thanks to @brandonbrungard for making these videos!

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https://www.twitter.com/BrandonBrungard

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Bill Gates: Right now, the disease we're focused on is polio. The world finished smallpox officially in 1980 -- was when they signed the certificate.  Polio we hope to get done, get our certificate by 2018, and then if, you know, the credibility, the energy from that will allow us to take the new tools we'll have then and go after a malaria plan.

John Green: I also wanted to ask you about the P6, the keg of life, as you called it?

Bill: Well, often something will be invented and people won't realize that it has a use in poor countries.  You can make these thermoses that leak, the heat leaks in very, very slowly, you know, that was invented like 15 years ago, and nobody thought, oh, well, hey, we can help poor countries with this cold chain problem, because for them, they don't have electricity, even getting kerosene and propane is expensive, it's unreliable.  We built the first one about a year ago, and now they're out in the field.  You don't need that in the United States, because our refrigerators are very reliable, you know, we assume we have 24 hour electricity, we assume patients can easily get to the doctor, so the matching of the good ideas with the big important needs, that's a pretty imperfect process.

John: You seen very careful, actually, not to talk about giving money away and instead, have repeatedly said that you're giving money back.

Bill: Well, capitalism is a weird system.  I mean, it's a fantastic system; it provides an incentive for people to work, but it means that somebody who, by having certain skills and creating a company at the right time, can end up with a mind-blowing amount of resources.  So Melinda and I, my wife, talked about this, where's the greatest injustice, where can a dollar save a life or avoid malnutrition?  In studying that, that's why we ended up saying, boy, in poor countries, you can have this huge impact.  

John: I wonder if you can kind of talk about where you see the healthcare system of Ethiopia in five or ten years, and when you see that making a sort of overall economic impact in the health of the country.

Bill: Well, the last ten years, they've gotten their childhood death rate down from over 15% down to about 8%, and they should be able to get it down below 2%; the US is below 1%.  Also, the malnourishment, which you see through stunting, still pretty high here.  And by finding the children that aren't growing and getting nutritious foods out and proving agriculture productivity, that'll be able to virtually eliminate malnutrition.  That means Ethiopia will, and this is their stated goal, be a middle-income country by 2025.  They absolutely can get there, and the progress is very exciting.  Health is such an enabling piece, and the country's really pulling together; the system is well-designed; you know, the donors, like ourselves, are here and trying to think, okay, what tools are missing?  So it's a very positive story, uh, one that I don't think most people know about.