Reflections: Scale


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May 29th 2019
Published: May 29th 2019
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Dwarfed by the screenDwarfed by the screenDwarfed by the screen

The speaker is a speck in front of the massive projection screen at the hotel's conference center.
New York, NY (May 29, 2019) Sitting at my desk about 14 hours after the 14 hour flight back, I'm reflecting through the brain fog the time zone change brings. I think my underlying impression, and one that is so hard to communicate to those that haven't experienced it, is the sheer scale of almost everything in China. Both problems and their solutions have a totally different perspective when one considers a population of 1.3 billion people. Seeing 10,000 patients a day in an outpatient facility, moving 2 million people out of Mianyang after the 2008 earthquake because a breach in the dam threatened the city, reconstruction of the bridges, tunnels, roads and buildings after the earthquake, the burden of cataract blindness with 1.2 million people blind from cataract in Sichuan province alone. The whole issue of scale was personified in the lecture theater where we presented new ideas. The 40 foot tall screen dwarfed the presenter, but the ideas I could project on the screen impressively conveyed a message to the audience that if mobilized can impact the problem. This is what we all hope to do - bring scalable solutions to the avoidable blindness so many suffer from needlessly.

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