Q:John! John! I just saw your video from a NICU in Addis Ababa. THANK YOU. I loved that you spoke about KMC. I am a doctor and a newborn receiving KMC is the single most beautiful thing I have ever seen. May I suggest you read Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone? It is about growing up in Ethiopia and medicine and life and beauty and I think you will love it and I would love to hear you talk about it! Love your work!
I have read Cutting for Stone!
I was very impressed with what I read about Kangaroo Mother Care after talking to Dr. Gessesse. One of the things Bill Gates said to me was that a lot of the effective strategies for improving health care in the developing world (like KMC) aren’t that expensive, and many don’t require highly trained specialists.
Obviously, we need more Dr. Gessesses in the world, but a lot of the improvement in Ethiopian child mortality and vaccination rates is due to health extension workers and the amazing volunteer Women’s Health Army. These people provide prenatal care, talk to their neighbors about issues like family planning and when to introduce solid food to keep infants growing, and how to get folic acid and iron supplements inexpensively. Health extension workers, meanwhile, have only a tenth grade education and a year of training, but they can diagnose and treat illnesses from malaria to rotavirus to TB. (You’ll meet some of these people in future videos.)
All that noted, I don’t want to make it sound like a solved problem: Even with this progress, over 6% of Ethiopian children die before the age of 5. Most of those deaths are preventable, and if you believe that all human lives have equal value, you have to acknowledge the ongoing injustice and needless suffering in poor countries like Ethiopia. But the progress is real, and I think Ethiopia is blazing an important trail for the developing world.
A health center in Southcentral Ethiopia that provides 24/7 emergency care to over 5,000 people living in rural areas. The health center is where many women deliver their babies, where you can get contraception (including Depo implants), and where a variety of illnesses are tested and treated. There’s also a lab with a hand-cranked blood centrifuge and a microscope where a lab technician types malaria and pneumonia infections.
In the first photograph, you can see Abdul, who leads this health center, explaining local disease rates to Bill Gates.
The second photograph gives you a sense of the health center itself (which has no running water and very little electricity). The third picture is the view from the health center of the huts where nearby families live.
The bottom picture charts under-5 mortality since 2004, when these health centers opened (along with the more rural health outposts, which I posted about here). The red line is Ethiopia; the gray line the world average.
In 2004, more than 11% of children born in Ethiopia died before five; today, it’s less than 7%. And as you can see, every year since 2004, the under-5 mortality rate has fallen faster in Ethiopia than it has in the world overall. Now, correlation doesn’t prove causation, but both the patients and health workers I spoke to agreed these rural health centers are working.
(It’s also worth noting that Ethiopia’s under-5 mortality rate has dropped far faster than other nations, even those that spend much more on health. In Nigeria, for instance, 12% of kids still die before the age of 5; Pakistan, which is far richer than Ethiopia, has barely seen its under-5 mortality drop at all in the past decade. So the world has a lot to learn from Ethiopia’s health investments.)
The nerdfighter community is the new back of shorts sponsor for League 2 team AFC Wimbledon and today I went SW to see the shorts IRL, on players and all! Team pics were taken with the nerdfighter stadium hoarding as backdrop. So so so cool. Whatever I do with my life, this will forever be a career highlight.
Can’t wait to have an AFC Wimbledon kit with DFTBA shorts.
The microfinance website Kiva is doing its first ever $1 Million Match Day today, which means that if you make a loan which falls under the conditions of normal bonus loans (less than than 18 months and greater than 3 stars), your loan will automatically be matched. If you’re a member of the Kiva Nerdfighters, the nerdfighter team will be credited with, e.g., $50 instead of $25! Kiva Nerdfighters have loaned over $4 million overall to entrepreneurs around the world.
Normally when you join Kiva you get $25 to use for free but this is on hold for today, so if you’d like to take part in what looks to be the biggest lending day in Kiva history you need to use existing Kiva funds or add more to your account. $25 loans have a 98% repayment rate on Kiva.org overall, which means that more often than not your loan will be repaid and you can reloan that money to other entrepreneurs! Approved loans can be seen here.
Vote for which team you want Hank and John to root for!
The FIFA World Cup kicks off tomorrow with Brazil vs. Croatia! Follow the link above to vote for the teams you want me to throw my support behind in the upcoming matches. $1 = 1 vote.
(100% of donations will be granted by the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck to the Sarcoma Fund of America.)
New vlogbrothers video! Our Old Friend Complexity: I talk about the role of luck in Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers.
Hey! We’re YouCoalition!
You may have heard about this task force working to fight online sexual violence and emotional abuse in places like Eff Yeah Nerdfighters! and a recent video by Hank Green. We know people have been curious about our work and involvement. We’ve finally reached a point where we can be open about what we’re doing and engage the community.
This is the official blog for YouCoalition, a group working closely with Hank, John, and others to make the communities we love a safer place for everyone.
We’ve put all sorts of information about what we’re up to on our blog for your perusing and feedback. Make your voice heard by reblogging with comments, sending us an ask, or tagging posts you want us to see with #Healthy YouTube. Also, be sure to follow our blog to stay in the loop as we move forward.
We’re very, very excited to begin the heavy lifting together.
Hey everyone! I (Valerie) would like to create a comprehensive dictionary of nerdfighter terms & language. This list will eventually be included on nerdfighteria.com as part of a sort of ‘orientation’ landing page for new, potential, or confused (because let’s face it, some of our jokes are WEIRD) nerdfighters.
From unique words like “swoodilypooper” and “dooblydoo”, to recurring phrases like “Who the eff is Hank?”, “Stuff on heads”, or “Movie magic!” every nerdfighter-centric term can and should be included!
I’ve created an editable, collaborative google doc that can be used to populate and flesh out the dictionary, which you can find here.
Let’s get this going!
Last call for dictionary entries! The page will be taken down over the weekend to be cleaned up and formatted all fancily. Get your nerd info in now!
This super awesome nerdfighter art has always been my favourite, and it served as my inspiration to write a Hank and John version of the Phineas and Ferb theme song.
(Lyrics can be found in the YouTube description!)
Yes, and yes, and yes!
Made of awesome!
New video about the Central African Republic, the conflict there, and some thoughts on why we struggle to pay attention to complex international news stories. And Kony 2012.