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  • Good morning, Hank.

  • It's Tuesday.

  • This video is about looking away, and you may need to look away at some point, and I totally understand that, but I hope that you'll stick with me.

  • So when Sarah and I went to Sierra Leone, we visited the only hospital in Kona District, Coy Do Government Hospital, which has come a very long way.

  • Like when partners in health began supporting the hospital in 2014 there was no consistent electricity or running water.

  • The maternity ward had a dirt floor.

  • There was no emergency department, no blood bank, no functioning X ray machines.

  • After the devastations of colonialism, Sierra Leone had never had much money to build up a health care system.

  • But the system was further weakened, first by the Sierra Leone civil war and then by a horrifying Ebola outbreak.

  • Five years later.

  • When I visited, Kgh was a vastly different place.

  • Clean maternity wards, off functioning emergency department, a laboratory to diagnose illness and plentiful stocks of medication to treat it along with many well trained health care workers.

  • And this is reflected in child and maternal health, more safe deliveries, fewer stillborn babies and a dramatic reduction in the so called decision to incision time the amount of time between when the need for an emergency C section is identified and when that procedure actually happens.

  • Because these are emergency surgeries meant to save the mother and baby's lives, the sooner the procedure can happen, the higher the likelihood of a positive outcome.

  • And just a couple years ago, at K G.

  • H, the decision to incision time was often over three hours.

  • Today it is an average of one hour, eight minutes, but the hospital is still woefully inadequate.

  • There are only 48 maternal beds to serve a population of 500,000 people.

  • And there's no Nick, you know, incubators or ventilators.

  • There's only very basic equipment to try to save sick kids.

  • And when we were at K G.

  • H, I saw a mother with a young child in the pediatric ward and without going into details, I think the child was probably dying and I looked away.

  • I looked away because I didn't want to gawk and because I didn't know what I could do in that moment to help, and because it was awful to see a mother in that kind of pain and to see a child suffering.

  • But there was also something else.

  • I've worked in a Children's hospital.

  • I've held the hands of kids as they died.

  • I understand that Children sometimes die, but most kids who die in Sierra Leone die of conditions.

  • We know how to treat or prevent.

  • And most mothers who die in childbirth die for want of an ambulance ride or a blood transfusion or an emergency C section.

  • These deaths are preventable, and they have been for decades.

  • Six years ago, I made a video from Ethiopia called Looking Away about the importance of listening to and supporting people living in absolute poverty six years ago.

  • In those six years, I had done some things and given some money.

  • But I had not made a serious commitment to listen better or to focus on the needs of the poor in an ongoing way.

  • So it wasn't just looking at a child who was dying.

  • I was looking at a child who very possibly wouldn't be dying if I had understood earlier.

  • The scope of the problem and devoted more of my resource is to supporting the people who are solving the problem and I think ultimately that is also part of why I looked away again.

  • I had understood in the abstract that the maternal and child mortality crises in Sierra Leone were emergencies, but I hadn't been treating them like emergencies.

  • And now I was faced with the consequences of that.

  • The truth was I wasn't doing nearly enough with the money and power and platform I'd looked into to support truly vulnerable people, and I'm still not doing enough.

  • But I am trying to doom or not just with my money and with my time, but also with my attention on that front.

  • Partners in Health Sierra Leone's annual report just came out, and even if you can't afford to donate to their efforts to build in support stronger health care systems for the poor, I really recommend reading it because it is in many ways very hopeful document.

  • Like one primary Health Center supported by Ph, the well body clinic saw zero maternal deaths in 2019 for the third year in a row.

  • This in a country where one in 17 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth, so the solutions are happening just not yet.

  • Across the whole region.

  • Access to mental health care in Kona has dramatically increased people with cancer or type one diabetes, which until recently were considered death.

  • Sentences in Kano are now being treated.

  • PH was also able to hire more staff, now employing over 450 people, 96% of whom are Sierra Leonean.

  • Locally sourced nutritional supplements are decreasing malnutrition and the maternal and neonatal care team at K G.

  • H is hiring nine new nurses and four new midwives.

  • But his Ph is John Lasher told me quite a government hospital is the only place within many hours, whether walking, driving or motor biking where women can receive an emergency C section.

  • And that puts tremendous pressure on a maternity ward that is just totally inadequate.

  • Which is why pH.

  • And this year Leonian Ministry of Health are working together to build a maternal centre of excellence and nick you at the hospital, which will more than triple the number of maternal beds and also dramatically improved child and maternal kale.

  • And it cannot wait.

  • That's why, while the Ministry of Health and Ph are going full speed on the planning, we are working very hard to raise the money in total commitments were now close to $13 million which is amazing, but we still have a ways to go.

  • So if you can make a monthly or one time donation at ph dot org's slash Hank and John, we would really appreciate it.

  • Also, every dollar you donate will be matched by generous people from within nerd fight area.

  • And if you want to join the matching fund by making a donation of $2000 or more, there is a link below to that as well.

  • Believe me when I say that I am talking to every rich person who will take my phone calls and doing whatever I can think of to drum up money.

  • But ultimately, I think if this is gonna work, it's gonna work.

  • Because thousands of people come together to show solidarity with people in Sierra Leone.

  • I hope from any of you that solidarity can come in the form of donations.

  • But it can also come in the form of listening and paying attention and reading annual reports or telling your friends and family about these efforts regardless, thank you for being here.

  • I know that the kind of complex, systemic, long term problems that demand complex, systemic, long term solutions can be easy to look away from.

  • So thank you for not looking away, Hank.

  • I'll see you on Friday.

Good morning, Hank.

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Looking Away (Again) (Looking Away (Again))

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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