CEFR_C2 (IELTS 8-8.5)

4. The problem of vaccine spoilage and a smart sensor to help(subtitles)

2022-01-09 18:40:33 simyang 1


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00:12

There I was, an American woman,

00:15

up to my knees in muck, wielding these strange metal boxes.

00:21

I was in rural Bangladesh,

00:22

deploying sensors that we'd built

00:24

in order to understand why the ground water was making people sick.

00:29

And I attracted some attention.

00:33

But my tech simply measured the problem.

00:37

The local communities that I'd really come to connect with

00:41

were expecting a solution.

00:43

So I raised funds, hired engineers from the city

00:47

in order to dig a deep well and bypass the arsenic

00:50

and provide access to clean water.

00:52

And we celebrated.

00:56

But as I boarded the plane, I thought, “What if it breaks?”

01:02

I'm an engineer.

01:03

I know that's not if but when.

01:06

When the well breaks, who will fix it?

01:09

How will they pay for it?

01:11

And will they even know there's a problem in the first place?

01:15

And I soon learned that this is all too often

01:18

how lifesaving equipment is deployed globally

01:21

in countries with limited electricity and infrastructure.

01:26

I kept thinking, I don't want to just build sensors

01:30

that measure a problem once it's very bad.

01:33

What if instead we brought together the tech built to measure

01:38

together with the equipment built to solve?

01:41

What could we unlock?

01:45

Take vaccines.

01:47

Vaccines won't work if they get too hot or, surprisingly, too cold,

01:52

so distributing vaccines requires refrigerators,

01:57

big and small,

02:00

to function reliably.

02:03

Fridges can save lives,

02:05

but all too often, like any kitchen appliance, they break.

02:10

One study in South Asia found

02:12

that over half of vaccine doses showed evidence of temperature damage

02:17

by the time of the end of their journey.

02:20

This means that the children that would have received those vaccines

02:23

may not have actually been protected.

02:27

Fridge failure is a big problem,

02:28

and it can happen anywhere.

02:32

Here in California,

02:33

in 2015, Stanford Children's Health discovered a fridge

02:37

that had been malfunctioning for up to eight months.

02:40

Staff contacted 1,500 families about revaccinating those children.

02:46

But what if you can't just get the families on the phone?

02:50

What if they live a six-hour walk away?

02:53

What if that first shot is your only shot?

02:57

The stakes are high, especially now with COVID vaccines.

03:01

Now, in May 2021, in Tanzania,

03:05

a failing fridge with our smart sensor

03:07

prompted an immediate response from the regional immunization officer,

03:11

and a technician was out to the site and fixed some faulty wiring,

03:15

and all the vaccines at that site stayed safe.

03:20

Real-time sensor data made all the difference.

03:24

We built a simple solution that continuously monitors the temperature

03:29

and keeps that fridge in Tanzania connected.

03:32

It sends an immediate text message automatically when the fridge fails,

03:37

and importantly, the nurses and the technicians are ready

03:40

and equipped to respond and fix the problem.

03:45

My team and our partners have scaled this technology

03:48

to over 15,000 sites across Asia and Africa,

03:54

protecting the vaccine supply

03:56

for one in 10 babies born on Earth each year.

04:01

(Applause)

04:08

And the same data that's used to actually detect the broken equipment

04:13

can also be used to reveal the strongest links in the chain.

04:17

These are the best sites and routes to use in an emergency.

04:22

My team is working now with countries

04:24

to reveal these pathways for COVID vaccines,

04:27

so using sensor data for identifying the best vaccine sites

04:31

in terms of temperature control.

04:33

In turn, these sites can then serve as a backbone for all vaccine delivery.

04:39

Now and in the future.

04:42

So here's what I've learned.

04:44

Sensor data can change the game

04:47

by providing a common source of ground truth

04:51

that enables coordinated action required to maintain lifesaving equipment.

04:58

Not just vaccine fridges

05:01

but any equipment deployed to save lives,

05:05

from solar panels on hospitals to ventilators and oxygen tanks.

05:12

But in order to realize these benefits,

05:15

we need to invest in data

05:17

and ensure that local communities and countries

05:21

are in the driver's seat

05:22

and that they have access to the resources they need

05:25

to act on what their data is telling them.

05:29

It's worth it.

05:30

I know, because I have seen how the same tech can be used to measure,

05:36

solve big problems and sustain those solutions.

05:41

Just as my friends in Bangladesh were right to expect all along.

05:45

Thank you.

05:46

(Applause)


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