US/World

Thousands Of Ethiopian Babies Saved Thanks To MacGuyver NICU Doctor

Mulualem Gessesse
This woman has been saving thousands of babies' lives in Ethiopia. Photo: Screenshot/YouTube

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the neonatal intensive care unit at Yekatit 12 Hospital is primitive to say the least. For the preterm babies, whose lungs require constant pressure to prop up air sacs in their lungs, a standard CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is unavailable.

So the doctor there, Mulualem Gessesse, and her nurses had to get a little creative. Upworthy calls her "a modern-day MacGyver." They rigged old oxygen tanks, clear plastic tubes and cups of water to build the CPAP machines. "My concern is for the Ethiopian newborns," Gessesse tells vlogger John Green in this recent upload. Thanks to doctors like Gessesse and the work of nonprofits in the country, Ethiopia's infant death rate has more than halved in two decades.

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